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July 22, 2016

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WTO starts review of China’s trade policy

THE World Trade Organization has started a regular review of China’s trade policy, enabling members to examine China’s trade policy and practices over the past two years.

Wang Shouwen, head of the Chinese delegation and vice commerce minister, briefed trade representatives on China’s economic development, progress in trade and investment, major reform measures and opening-up steps, participation in the multilateral trading system, and its role as a responsible major country.

“New approaches have been adopted in macro-economic regulation. New growth drivers have been cultivated and traditional ones retooled. In parallel with the reasonable expansion of total demand, the supply-side structural reform has been stepped up,” Wang said.

He added that reform measures were being unfolded across the board.

Reforms of the administrative examination and approval system have been advanced, as have reforms relating to the industrial and commercial registration system, the fiscal, taxation and financial systems and the foreign investment approval system.

Wang also highlighted the opening-up steps China has undertaken since the previous review in July 2014.

“Efforts have been made to build a new open economic system, promote innovative growth of foreign trade and encourage balanced development of two-way investment,” he said.

These efforts have contributed to China’s ongoing economic success and development.

“In the past two years, China’s economy has been growing steadily at a medium-to-high speed and with better quality,” Wang said.

“In 2015, GDP increased by 6.9 percent, over 13 million new jobs were created in the urban areas ... China became the largest trading partner of more than 120 countries and regions,” he added.

Wang highlighted the setting-up of three pilot free trade zones in Tianjin and the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian and the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, moves that were hailed as part of China’s new round of opening-up.

He also noted that since its accession to WTO in 2001, China has actively assumed its responsibilities as a major developing trading nation, having cut its overall tariff level from 15.3 percent to 9.8 percent and opened up 100 services sectors.

It has also played an active role in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations and showed its support for the multilateral trading system through constructive action and key initiatives.

China has also fully assumed its role as a responsible major country, Wang said.

China has been the largest export market for the least developed countries since 2008 ... and is an active champion of South-South Cooperation. Over the past six decades, it has provided assistance of over 400 billion yuan (US$59.9 billion) to 166 countries and international organizations, Wang said.

He also reminded that China has always fulfilled its duties and obligations as a WTO member.


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