Interview: China's entry into WTO has created win-win situation, says trade expert

Updated: January 10, 2022 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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GENEVA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) has created a win-win situation, said Lu Xiankun, managing director of consulting institution LEDECO Geneva.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Lu said that China has achieved unprecedented development through its integration into the multilateral trading system and that other WTO members have also benefited a lot from China's market economy transformation and opening up.

Before creating in 2017 LEDECO Geneva, which is in close collaboration with international organizations, Lu worked for many years in international trade.

The year 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of China's accession to the WTO. Over the past two decades, the global ranking of China's economic aggregate has risen to the second from the sixth place. Its ranking of trade in goods has risen from the sixth to the first, while that of its trade in services has jumped from the 11th to the second.

Lu cited relevant studies that the economic and trade growth rates of new members, including China, are higher than those of the founding members after their WTO accession, due in part to greater market openness.

China has earnestly fulfilled its WTO commitments and implemented in time relevant amendments to laws and regulations, Lu said.

Lu believes that since China's WTO accession 20 years ago, the country has provided a huge and steadily growing market for the exports of other WTO members.

China has now become the top trading partner of more than 50 countries and regions, and one of the top three trading partners of over 120 countries and regions. Since 2008, it has been the top destination of exports from the least developed countries.

Over the past 20 years, China's overall tariff level has dropped to 7.4 percent from 15.3 percent in 2001, lower than the 9.8 percent the country promised when entering into the WTO. Among the service trade sectors, China has opened up more than 120, far beyond 100 the country promised.

Meanwhile, China has been actively participating in various WTO activities, constantly learning, growing, and gradually emerging as a participant in the formulation of rules, and has also played a leading role in some fields, Lu said, citing such plurilateral negotiations as the Investment Facilitation for Development and the Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics trade.

Lu said that with the growth of China's economy and the rising of its international status, the WTO and its members have higher expectations for China, hoping that China will play a leading role and make contributions that are more in line with its current strength and status.

Lu said that in order to deal with the dual impacts of the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, some countries have adopted restrictive measures with unilateralism and trade protectionism, but these measures are not good "prescriptions" to the crisis, and can only make the situation worse.

A recent report of the WTO shows that members are gradually withdrawing trade-restrictive measures, while trade facilitation measures have greatly increased, Lu said.

"This is precisely the role of the relevant WTO rules, which curb the political impulse of approaching unilateralism and protectionism of some members and their leaders. It fully proves the core value and role of the multilateral trading system will not be marginalized because of one-off events."

Lu said that although economic globalization has encountered some adverse tides and the global industrial chain is undergoing some adjustments, no fundamental changes have occurred.

The economic exchanges between countries such as China and the United States are still closely intertwined and even further strengthened, Lu added. 

Editor: Li Shimeng