Business / Economy

WTO concludes China's sixth trade policy?review?

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-23 09:54

GENEVA - The sixth World Trade Organization (WTO) trade policy review of China came to a close on Friday, with members highlighting the vital role played by the country in the global economy as well their desire to see deeper reforms in a number of areas.

"China being the biggest merchandise trader in the world, one of the largest recipients of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the top trading partner for over 120 countries and regions, its policies can have a huge impact on the global economy," said Irene Young, Chairperson of WTO's Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB), in her concluding remarks.

"Hence, members call upon China to assume the increased responsibility linked with being a major player in the multilateral trading system," she added.

The changes undertaken by Asia's economic powerhouse were laid out by Wang Shouwen, head of the Chinese delegation and China's Vice Minister of Commerce, when the biennial review kicked off on Wednesday.

The official briefed trade representatives on China's economic development, progress in the trade and investment sector, major reform measures and opening-up steps, participation in the multilateral trading system, and assumption of the role as a responsible major country.

A collective evaluation of the reforms launched by Beijing was conducted over two sessions, giving representatives the chance to review the full range of China's trade policies and practices and their impacts on the functioning of the multilateral trade system.

"China has emphasized again and again its determination to undertake structural reforms which are ongoing in various respects," Young explained.

"Members do recognize that China has made progress in this direction and that they are expecting to see more extensive and quicker reforms in many of the areas," she added.

The creation of three additional Pilot Free Trade Zones in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian was appreciated by members, Young noted, as were improvements made on the protection of intellectual property rights and the streamlining of custom-related procedures.

Members did call however for increased reforms to make China's FDI regime more predictable and open.

This would particularly benefit China's fast-growing services sector as a driver of growth and development, Young noted.

China's role as one of the world's biggest trading nations was also lauded by members.

"China was congratulated on having opened its market to products from Least Developed Countries, and for its leading role in South-South cooperation," Young said.

"Members also commended China for its participation in the expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and the Environmental Goods Agreement negotiations, and looked forward to the implementation of its commitments under the expanded ITA and the Trade Facilitation Agreement," she added.

Some 1,800 written questions were sent by 34 WTO members, setting a new record for China's trade policy review which will conclude in a month's time when China provides answers to all outstanding questions.

Trade policy reviews are an exercise mandated by WTO agreements, in which member's 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 economy's size.

The United States, China, the European Union and Japan are reviewed every two years.

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