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WTO starts 4th trade policy review of China

06-12-2012 22:10 BJT

GENEVA, June 12 (Xinhua) -- The fourth trade policy review of China, where members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) examine the trade policies and practices of China over the past two years, began on Tuesday.

Yu Jianhua, head of the Chinese delegation and assistant minister of commerce, told members about the macro-environment for China's economy, trade and investment development.

He said since the last WTO review in 2010, China has been confronted with a complicated economic and trade environment. The ongoing financial crisis and the non-conventional monetary policies adopted by some members caused many negative impacts on China.

External demand has been sluggish, and the influence of the eurozone debt crisis has been deepening. Inside China, the government has been under much pressure to stabilize prices, the cost of labor has shot up while an aging population brings more challenges.

However, to promote robust, sustainable, and balanced growth, the Chinese government has deepened reform and opening up, expanded domestic demand, and accelerated economic restructuring and the transformation of the economic growth model.

The development of China's economy and trade has maintained a good momentum, and China's economic and trade links with other countries and regions have been further strengthened on the multilateral, regional, and bilateral fronts, Yu said.

He added 2010 and 2011 saw a strong growth in China's economy. GDP was up by 10.4 percent and 9.2 percent respectively, while CPI growth dropped to 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. In the first quarter of 2012, GDP grew by a fairly strong 8.1 percent, while CPI growth further dropped to 3.8 percent.

China's import growth has outpaced export in the past two years, indicating that trade is on the way to becoming more balanced. In 2010 and 2011, China's total export of goods was 1.58 trillion U.S. dollars and 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars, up by 31 percent and 20 percent respectively over the previous year. Meanwhile, total imports were 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars and 1.74 trillion U.S. dollars, up by 38.8 percent and 25 percent respectively, according to Yu.

He said China has fully capitalized on its comparative advantages, adhered to reform and opening up, endeavored to create a sound investment climate and facilitated trade and investment. It has become an indispensable manufacturing link in the global value chain, and has been one of the most attractive investment destinations for many years.

Yu said the Chinese government will push forward reform in all fronts with greater determination and courage, particularly reform in the economic system and China will take an open, inclusive, cooperative and responsible attitude in building and maintaining a sound international economic and trade environment together with its trading partners, and in shaping a balanced multilateral trade system featuring benefit for all.

"We hope that with our joint efforts, the mutually beneficial and win-win trade and economic relations between China and all other WTO members could continue to develop soundly and steadily," he said.

Eduardo Munoz Gomez, chairman of the Trade Policy Review Body and Colombian ambassador to the WTO, said China had received a record number of more than 1,700 written questions from nearly 30 members, including the United States, the European Union, Brazil and India.

He said the questions were mainly about China's export policies, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, intellectual property rights protection, agriculture, government procurement, services, and anti-dumping measures.

Members will make comments and raise questions with China during Tuesday's session. The Chinese delegation will deliver replies when the review continues on Thursday.

Trade policy reviews are an exercise, mandated in WTO agreements, in which member countries' trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored.

All WTO members are subject to review, with the frequency of review depending on the country's size. The U.S., China, EU and Japan are reviewed every two years.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: Xinhua

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