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China keeps word to WTO along bumpy road

(Xinhua)

10:09, September 09, 2011

XIAMEN, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- It takes about five years of intricate talks on average for a candidate nation to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), but for China, such a process took 15 years plus five months.

China's prolonged and uneven journey to the WTO manifested its incompletion under the framework of global trade, as 10 years ago when the talks were started, China remained relatively secluded from the common trade rules and standards.

In the 10 years of WTO membership, China fulfilled its commitment by lowering tariffs, demolishing non-tariff barriers and widely opening up the domestic market. It also revised laws and regulations in accordance with WTO rules and took concrete steps to promote market reforms.

Ten years on, China has become the world's biggest exporter and the second largest importer, but it has also suffered the most from trade protectionism. Its low-price products gender antipathy from not only developed nations but also emerging economies that have front competition with China.

China will continue to vigorously push forward the opening up policy to facilitate global trade and investment, Commerce Minister Chen Deming told a forum held at the 15th China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT), which opened Wednesday in the southeastern coastal city of Xiamen.

WIN-WIN

By the end of 2000, prior to the WTO accession, the volume of China's merchandise exports and imports was 249.2 billion U.S. dollars and 225.1 billion U.S. dollars, respectively. Within a decade, as of the end of 2010, China's merchandise exports reached 1,600 billion U.S. dollars and imports amounted to 1,400 billion U.S. dollars.

The general tariff rates have been lowered from 15.3 percent in 2001 to 9.8 percent at the end of 2010.

The trade boom has prompted China's nearly double-digit economic growth, which has propelled the economy to become the second largest in the world. It also accumulated the world's largest reserve of foreign exchange and created millions of millions of jobs.

"China's trade-driven growth also had a trickledown effect to other developing nations. The high domestic consumption led to a significant increase in demand for natural resources and conversely benefited resource rich developing nations," said Kandeh K. Yumkella, director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

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