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China Daily Global / 2021-05 / 18 / Page011

Key promoter of WTO reform

China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-05-18 00:00

This year marks the 20th anniversary of China joining the World Trade Organization. China is the largest beneficiary of the multilateral trade system, as well as the largest contributor to it.

Over the past 20 years, China's exports of goods have grown more than seven times, and its import volume has risen nearly six times. Last year, China's export-import volume accounted for 12 percent of the world's trade in goods.

China's service exports accounted for 3 percent of the world's total in 2005, and they increased to 6 percent last year. And its service import's share in the world's total rose from 3.3 percent in 2005 to 8 percent last year.

China's rise in the world trade system benefits developed economies, emerging markets, developing countries and the least-developed countries at the same time.

Before China entered the WTO, less than 2 percent of the United States' exports went to China. The proportion rose to 9 percent last year, and China is the third largest foreign market of the US.

In 2001, China received 1.7 percent of South Africa's exports, it now receives 11 percent, becoming the largest overseas market to the country. It is a similar case for other emerging markets and developing countries.

Since 2008, China has remained a major destination for the exports from the least-developed countries, attracting about a quarter of their exports.

China is now the largest trade partner of more than 100 countries and regions. And it faithfully follows the WTO rules, and fulfills the promises it has made. For example, it vowed to lower its import tariffs to 9.9 percent before entering the WTO. Now it has reduced its import tariffs to 7.5 percent. And its weighted tariff rate for international trade has further lowered to 4.4 percent today, almost the same as that of the developed economies.

China should and has the ability to play a special role in a positive way to promote the world trade body's reform. Without China's participation and support, no meaningful agreements can be reached within the current WTO framework.

However, as the Joe Biden administration regards China as the foremost challenge to the US, China must be vigilant to the US and its allies' so-called endorsement of the multilateral trade system as it might originate from their geopolitical needs and the true purpose is to form small cliques so as to divide and weaken the WTO. This is pressing test to the multilateral trade system.

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