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China supports necessary reforms of WTO: Ministry of Commerce

By Wang Ke (People's Daily)    09:22, November 26, 2018

China supports necessary reforms of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the multilateral trading system is severely impacted, the Ministry of Commerce said at a press conference on Nov. 23.

The multilateral trading system is now challenged by unilateralism and trade protectionism, said Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of Commerce.

He said the WTO is threatened by three factors: the dispute settlement regime is at risk of paralysis due to obstruction from certain members to fill the vacancy of its Appellate Body members; certain members raising tariffs by abusing the security exception clause; and some members taking unilateral approaches in disregard of the WTO's multilateral rules.

He remarked that China supports necessary reforms of the WTO to strengthen its authority and effectiveness.

WTO reforms should follow three fundamental principles: the reform should uphold the organization's core values of non-discrimination and open, protect development interests of developing members and address their difficulties in integrating into economic globalization, and follow the mechanism of decision-making by consensus, Wang noted.

WTO reforms should uphold its main channel status of the multilateral trading system, prioritize addressing issues that threaten the survival of the organization, make trade rules fairer and in line with the needs of the times, ensure special and differentiated treatment for developing members, and respect the development model of each member, he said.

China opposes any individual member's actions in undermining and denying the authority of the multilateral trading system, Wang said, warning that some members are obstructing the appointment of members of the Appellate Body, abusing the security exception clause to raise tariffs, and taking unilateral actions under domestic laws. All these are undermining the foundation of the multilateral trading system.

Reforms should resolve the issues as soon as possible so as to ensure the normal functioning of the WTO, Wang noted.

Wang said reforms should rectify the long-term severe distortion of international agricultural trades caused by the excessive agricultural subsidies from developed members, and relieve the severe impacts on normal international trade orders imposed by the abuse of trade remedies, especially the surrogate country approach in anti-dumping investigations.

Reforms should guarantee that the WTO rules are keeping pace with the times, and cover the topics reflecting economic reality in the 21st century.

China is willing to shoulder duties commensurate with its development level and capacities, and will not allow other members to strip its special and differentiated treatment as a developing country, Wang said.

China objects some members’ denial of diversity of development models and discrimination against different development models, said Wang, adding that the country is also against the practice of listing the development model issue as part of WTO reforms agenda and opposes introducing groundless accusations into the agenda, Wang said. 

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