China favors WTO reforms for fairer, rational trade

Business | 14 Sep 2018 3:13 pm

China says it will support reforms of the world trade system and the World Trade Organization, to make it fairer and more effective, Beijing’s top diplomat says.

State Councillor Wang Yi, speaking late yesterday after meeting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Beijing, said some reforms could be good, Reuters reports.

While certain doubts have been raised about the current international trading system, China has always supported the protection of free trade and believes that multilateralism with the WTO at its core should be strengthened, Wang added.

"At the same time, we do not believe that the current system is perfect and without flaws,” he said. "China supports necessary reforms and perfection of the current system, including to the WTO, to make it fairer, more effective and more rational,” Wang added.

The basic tenets of the WTO, in opposing protectionism and supporting free trade should not change, but the rights of developing nations should also not be overlooked, he said.

"The aim of reform should be to allow countries to enjoy the development fruits of globalization more fairly, not to further widen the differences between south and north,” Wang said.

WTO reforms need to include listening to voices from all parties and broad consultation, and should especially listen to a respect the opinions of developing countries, rather than just allowing "one person to have a say,'' Wang added.

"The issue of WTO reform is extremely complex, and involves many areas. [China] hopes all parties remain patient, and advance step by step.”

His remarks come as China and the United States may return to the negotiating table with the threat of new U.S. tariffs looming. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has extended an invitation to talks to his counterparts in Beijing.

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