Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Regular Press Conference on December 13, 2018
Q: This year marks the 17th anniversary of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization. We noted that WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell said in an interview that it’s extremely important to have China as a WTO member, who has acted as a firm advocate of the rules-based multilateral trade system. What’s your comment?
A: We have noted these pertinent remarks Mr. Keith Rockwell made on the role China has played as a WTO member.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. China’s accession to the WTO 17 years ago, as a milestone in that great journey, has had enormous and far-reaching influence on China and the world at large.
Over the past 17 years, China has followed the WTO rules, honored its commitments, and comprehensively fulfilled its promises of opening-up in terms of lowering tariffs for goods, removing import quotas and other non-tariff barriers, liberalizing the access to foreign trade operations and opening up service market. Deeper integration into globalization has not only made China the biggest global trader in goods and accelerated China’s process of economic development and poverty alleviation, but also enabled it to share more development opportunities with the rest of the world and made important contributions to promoting trade and well-being for all.
Over the past 17 years, China has taken part in and supported the work of the WTO in an all-round way, and vigorously advanced trade liberalization and facilitation by taking a lead in signing the Trade Facilitation Agreement. China has also firmly supported the rules-based multilateral trading system, promoted the vital role of the WTO in global economic governance and supported more developing countries in integrating into and benefiting from the economic globalization process.
Having said all these, there are also regrets over the past 17 years. While the overwhelming majority of countries approve China’s enormous contributions to promoting international trade and upholding the multilateral trading system, a small number of others still choose to ignore these contributions and even refuse to fulfill their obligations under Article 15 of the Protocol on China’s Accession to the WTO and continue to treat China unfairly.
The multilateral trading system now stands at a critical juncture and faces heavy impact from unilateralism and protectionism. China will stay committed to the path of multilateralism and support the WTO in making necessary reforms. We have published a position paper on the WTO reform not long ago, with emphasis laid on three principles and five propositions. We will work with other WTO members to uphold the core values and basic principles of the WTO and improve its authority and effectiveness so as to help it better fit into the future development of international trade. In the meantime, China will push forward its new round of high-level opening-up and join others in building an open world economy for mutual benefit and win-win results.