Business / Economy

Local govts to get transparency lessons

By Zhong Nan and Mu Chen (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-19 07:01

Programs to help create level playing field for domestic, foreign firms

China is training more local government officials to help them have a better understanding of international trade regulations as part of its efforts to create more transparent and fair market conditions for domestic exporters and overseas companies.

Liu Yuhua, a counselor at the department of World Trade Organization affairs under the Ministry of Commerce, said the ministry will provide new international trade and business learning materials, regular classes and consultancy services offered by experts in different fields to local government officials to improve their policy-making capabilities.

The announcement came after the State Council outlined in June a number of reforms to improve government services to meet the demand of foreign trade without hurting growth, as well as reminding local governments to standardize their trade regulations and reduce trade friction.

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China's trade and investment policies are not always clear, as they sometimes overlap and even conflict, reflecting different agendas or priorities raised by governments at different levels, according to the WTO's fifth trade policy review of China released earlier this month.

The layers of regulation add another level of difficulty when trying to unravel specific policy measures in China, it said, adding that the trade policy-making capabilities of China's local governments need to be improved further.

In 2013, 19 countries launched 92 trade-remedy investigations against Chinese companies, up 19.48 percent from a year earlier. The latest case is the United States government's anti-dumping action and countervailing investigation into imports of certain passenger vehicles and light truck tires from China on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Commerce said on Friday that the application for the probe had many flaws and tire companies in the US are not supporting the decision of placing a case on file for investigation. The step taken by US Department of Commerce is against the WTO rules and the US laws and China strongly opposes it, the ministry said.

"Compared with the period before China joined the WTO, the domestic and international economic landscape has undergone significant changes," said Liu.

China has already become the top commodities trading nation and the world's second-largest economy, as well as the largest trading partner for more than 120 nations.

"The Chinese economy is now highly merged with the global economy and as such, the country's trade policies are no longer a matter that only concerns itself. China's trading partners pay very close attention to the impact that China's trade policies have on them," said He Jingtong, professor of international trade at the Tianjin-based Nankai University.

To create a favorable environment for foreign trade, the government has abrogated 2,300 policies and regulations since China joined the WTO in 2001. China's local governments also terminated 190,000 rules to boost exports.

Local govts to get transparency lessons Local govts to get transparency lessons
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