China will continue to push for globalization, and multilateral talks and promotion of trade, as it marked the 15th anniversary of joining the World Trade Organization on Dec 11, according to Chinese trade officials and experts.
China must continue to support the organization, said Tu Xinquan, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
WTO membership has significantly invigorated Chinese companies and the economy, with China making progress far greater than expected in the 15 years.
Since China joined the WTO as its 143rd member on Dec 11, 2001, it has grown into the world’s second-largest economy, while millions of its people have been lifted out of poverty thanks to the wide range of products it makes, from garments to bullet trains and industrial robots.
It will be critical for China to take practical measures to confront potential challenges caused by trade friction and rising protectionism, currency wars and capital outflow in 2017, said Zhang Yansheng, chief economist of the Beijing-based China Center for International Economic Exchange.
Zhang said factors such as the Brexit talks scheduled to start next year, new trade policies anticipated from US president-elect Donald Trump and different trade protectionism measures springing up in both developing and developed countries will all add to uncertainties for both Chinese and global economies next year.
Zhang Jianping, director of the research center for regional economic cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, suggested China build up a global network of free trade areas to lower tariffs, while further opening up investment and services industries.
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said earlier in October that China will work with G20 members to jointly set up a global trade alert index, similar to various indexes being used in the financial industry, to further help companies avoid risk.
China has been the world’s biggest trader of goods by volume for three consecutive years. It has also become the largest trade partner of over 120 countries and regions, data from the Ministry of Commerce show.
The country shipped $2.28 trillion in goods to global markets in 2015, about 7.6 times higher than the volume in 2001. It bought $1.68 trillion in foreign products, an almost sixfold increase from 2001.
China will also urge more technical and financial assistance to less-developed economies, especially African and Pacific island states, Shen said.
As the world’s second biggest investor, the country’s outbound direct investment jumped 53.3 percent year-on-year to reach $145.96 billion in the January-October period this year, exceeding the country’s total ODI amount in 2015.