REUTERS – The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday started the first session of its seventh trade policy review (TPR) of China, with the second session scheduled for Friday.
Led by Wang Shouwen, China’s vice minister of commerce and deputy China international trade representative, a team of 30 officials from 14 Chinese government agencies, as well as the head of the Chinese mission to the WTO, Ambassador Zhang Xiangchen, participated in the first session.
Addressing the session, Wang introduced China’s new progress in trade and investment facilitation, major measures adopted by the country for reform and opening-up, its active participation in the multilateral trading system, its responsible role as a major country, and other aspects concerned since the previous review in July 2016.
“We have significantly lowered import tariffs voluntarily and continuously. By the end of 2017, import duties on over 900 tariff lines had been reduced. We have constantly expanded market access for foreign investors. China has pragmatically implemented the trade facilitation agreement. During the period until this review, China has comprehensively deepened reform while opening further to the outside world. China has been a firm supporter of the multilateral trading system.” – Wang Shouwen
According to Wang, since China’s accession to the WTO in 2001, China’s imports of goods increased at an annual average growth rate of 13.5 percent, twice as high as the world average. China’s imports of services registered a yearly average growth of 16.7 percent, 2.7 times as much as the world average.
He said intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in China has tremendously benefited IPR holders. The royalties China paid to foreign rights holders surged from 1.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2001 to 28.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2017.
“China’s role for WTO is critical. In the present time, China is one of the greatest forces supporting multilateral trading system. So we greatly appreciate that. We appreciate China’s efforts towards opening up their economy, especially the way China has voluntarily and continuously lowered their tariffs. Similarly, Pakistan appreciates China’s implementation of the trade facilitation agreement.” Syed Tauqir Shah, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to WTO
China has so far received 1,963 written questions from 42 WTO members and answered 1,627 questions submitted by 33 members two weeks prior to the TPR session.
Responses to the remaining questions will be provided in writing one month from now as per the rule, Wang said.