Official calls for coordination with trading partners to safeguard world economy
China is looking forward to working with all members of the World Trade Organization, including the United Sates, to help the global body meet the challenges of economic globalization, said a Chinese senior trade official.
Zhang Xiangchen, China's ambassador to the WTO, said on Monday in Geneva that through consultations on the basis of equality, reform can update the WTO and make it responsive to the expectations of the global business community.
At a WTO review of US trade policies, held every two years, Zhang said all countries need to address challenges of economic globalization, and both China and the US need to do so.
"The right way is not to erect trade barriers, but rather to create domestic initiatives to help those most affected adjust and strengthen consultation and coordination with trading partners to cultivate a stable international environment for all," he stressed.
The US underwent on Monday the first session of its 14th WTO Trade Policy Review. It will be continued on Wednesday.
Zhang believes that the WTO also has issues to address. If the roof of this building is leaking, its members should work together to fix it, rather than dismantling it and exposing all of them to rain and storms, he said.
China, along with the European Union and a number of members, put forward a joint proposal recently for the reform of the WTO Appellate Body. Officials said they hope that the US will constructively engage in this discussion.
Zhang added that members have also shared their thoughts about the overall reform of the WTO, and in this regard, China has proposed its principles and suggestions. They include giving priority to resolving issues that threaten the future of the WTO and enhancing the role of multilateralism in boosting global trade liberalization and facilitation.
China is not urging the reform for its own good, said Xue Rongjiu, deputy director of the Beijing-based China Society for WTO Studies. Its proposals come as global cooperation under the WTO, which took decades to crystallize, faces many threats, he said.
Xue said there are embedded risks from dangers such as major economic decline, job losses, currency inflation and stunted growth in many countries, especially small and developing economies. These would hit the world's poorest the hardest.
The EU also warned on Monday at the WTO that the multilateral trading system is in "a deep crisis".
Marc Vanheukelen, EU ambassador to the organization, said he regrets that protectionist "rhetoric has turned into reality", adding that "the repercussions of tariffs and other restrictions are being felt at the heart of this organization, and more generally in global growth prospects".
The WTO has over 160 members representing 98 percent of global trade. More than 20 countries are seeking to join. At its heart are agreements negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world's trading nations and ratified in their legislative bodies. The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.