China will continue its market liberalization efforts and reform measures to further develop itself in economic globalization and safeguard the global multilateral system, a senior trade official said in Geneva on July 11.
Wang Shouwen, China’s deputy international trade representative, made the pledge when the World Trade Organization opened a session to review China’s trade policy.
Session on July 11 took place amid escalating trade tensions between the United States and China, among other leading economies.
“While developing itself in economic globalization,” said Wang, “China has created important opportunities for the world economic growth, and delivered tangible benefits to its trading and investment partners.”
Every two years, the WTO reviews the trade policy of its top four members, including the US, European Union and Japan. The review has attracted wide attention from members, 42 of whom have submitted 1,963 written questions. China has answered most of them ahead of the session on July 11. The review will end on July 13.
During 17 years, China has provided tremendous market opportunities for goods and services for the world, Wang said.
From 2001 when China joined WTO to 2017, its merchandise imports grew at an annual average growth rate of 13.5 percent, twice as high as the world average. “In 2017, China’s imports of goods took up 12.8 percent of the global total,” Wang cited in his speech at the WTO headquarters.
Wang also said that foreign-invested enterprises in China have gained unprecedented opportunities for development. In 2017, he said, such enterprises contributed to 44.8 percent of China’s total foreign trade in goods.
Didier Chambovey, head of the Swiss Permanent Mission to the WTO, said the organization’s members have “many expectations” from China to play a leadership role in expanding trade and advancing reforms of the system.
“China’s accession into the WTO has been absolutely decisive,” Chambovey told reporters at the WTO session on China’s trade policy. He said the 2001 move has not only accelerated China’s economic and social development but its expanding global trade also has benefited the rest of the world.
“That is why there are many expectations from WTO members,” said Chambovey, including the anticipation that China would lead WTO reforms and further fulfill commitments it made on market liberalization and trade facilitation.
Chambovey said as a neutral nation, with close relations with both China and the US, Switzerland hopes negotiations will solve what he called a “crisis”.