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The Trading Power, Part I: A Decade of Fastest Development

By Li Zhenyu (People's Daily Online)

10:16, November 09, 2012

The past 10 years marks a golden decade of development in China's foreign trade

After joining the WTO, China has grown to become a trading power. (File Photo)

Since the 16th CPC National Congress, the golden decade has witnessed China's fastest growth in its trading history and the emergence of a new trading power.

An Electrifying Trading Power

"China has delivered an 'A-plus performance' since it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001," the WTO Director General Pascal Lamy remarked.

Having embraced the WTO rules, China has successfully integrated with the world and grown to become the world's largest exporter and second largest importer.

Over the past decade, China has abolished, revised and adopted over 3,000 laws, regulations and department rules, fulfilled its commitments to the WTO in tariff and non-tariff areas, and eased its restrictions on foreign rivals to further open its markets to the world.

Currently, China's overall tariff level is the lowest among all developing nations, and its average tariff level has been lowered from over 15 percent ten years ago to below 10 percent, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.

The former U.S. trade representative Charlene Barshefsky once commented that China made the WTO a more complete system and became an important engine driving the global economic recovery.

"After joining the WTO 10 years ago, China has registered the fastest development since the founding of the People's Republic of China," said China's ambassador to the WTO Yi Xiaozhun.

Both the nation's import and export volumes have increased by nearly five-fold and achieved an average annual growth rate of above 20 percent during the past decade.

From 2002 to 2011, China's total value of imports increased from $295 billion in 2002 to $1.8 trillion in 2011, an increase of about five times, realizing an average annual growth rate of 21.6 percent.

The country's share in global total imports rose from only 4 percent in 2002 to nearly 10 percent in 2011, with its imports scale ascending from the sixth place in 2002 to the second in 2009.

Since then, China has remained the world's second largest importer, only next to the United States.

In terms of exports, China's total export value grew about five times from $326 billion in 2002 to $1.9 trillion in 2011, with an average annual growth rate of above 21 percent. The country's share in global total exports rose from only 5 percent in 2002 to 10 percent in 2011.

In global export rankings, China rose from the fourth place in 2002 to the No.1 spot in 2009, overtaking Germany as the world's largest exporter, and has maintained that position ever since.

With China's total trade volume growing to become the second largest in the world and its current share of global trade accounting for the largest at 10.6 percent, a new trading power has emerged.

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