Officials and scholars from different parts of the world have lauded the constructive and leading role China has played in the World Trade Organization (WTO) since its accession to the global trade organization 15 years ago.

China’s accession to the world’s largest trade bloc has been a story of all-win results, which made unprecedented contributions to both domestic and global growth, experts said prior to the 15th anniversary of China’s WTO accession marked on Sunday.

 

GROWTH IN DOMESTIC ECONOMY

China’s entry into the WTO has played a significant part in its economic development, Portanskiy Aleksey Pavlovich, a professor with Russia’s National University Higher School of Economics, has said.

The accession has removed many barriers for Chinese products to enter the global market, he said.

Keith Rockwell, director of the WTO’s Information and External Relations Division, said in an interview that the accession has considerably lifted China’s trade.

“We’ve seen China’s exports increase eight and a half times and imports up by seven times. We’ve seen inward foreign investment into China soar over hundred billion U.S. dollars in each of the last five years. China is now actually investing more and more overseas as well,” the WTO spokesman said.

According to James Laurenceson, deputy director of Australia-China Relations Institute at University of Technology Sydney, China’s share of world trade last year reached 14.6 percent, making it by far the world’s largest trader.

“If you look at those sectors of the Chinese economy that are the most efficient, they are those that are most exposed to international trade,” Laurenceson said.

CONTRIBUTOR TO WORLD ECONOMY

China’s inclusion into the WTO, which has facilitated trade between China and the rest of the world, has been a major contributor to invigorating the sluggish world economy and a game changer to reshape the global economic landscape, experts said.

“If you look at the figures it’s quite impressive. Obviously, China has been a big contributor to global economy,” said Paul Sheard, executive vice president and chief economist at Standard & Poor’s Global.

“For countries like Australia, getting improved access to China is crucial as the Chinese market is incredibly important. The WTO has been a starting point for Chinese-Australian relationships as well for trade agreements. We now have a free trade agreement between China and Australia,” said Lisa Toohey, associate professor of international trade law at the University of New South Wales and member of the university’s China International Business and Economic Law Initiative.

China’s 15 years’ membership in WTO not only marks the most rapid economic development phase of this ancient oriental nation, but also features the period when China shares its prosperity with the rest of the world, said Gerishon Ikiara, lecturer of international economics at the University of Nirobi.

“The world economy had been led by developed economies for many decades. The growing economy of China is gradually reshaping the global economic landscape,” Ikiara said.

 

LEADER IN INTERNATIONAL AREA

Before China joined the WTO, there had been fears that cases against China would be so many that the system could not cope with.

“Those fears were completely overblown and China has been very active as a third party in the WTO, which means that it comes and observes on the disputes, but it hasn’t been active particularly as a litigant,” Toohey said.

“China has been a good international citizen in terms of complying with WTO decisions,” she said.

China, since joining the WTO, has lowered its tariffs by a large margin, and has made achievements in the construction of the market economy system, observers said.

China played a very major role in the WTO, a lot of countries, companies and consumers have benefited from the increasingly opening of the Chinese market”, Nicholas Lardy, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics said.

China’s economic development, particularly since it joined the WTO, has been one of the most remarkable phenomena in the 21st century, said Portanskiy, the Russian scholar.

“So far, China has been one of the most influential members of the trade bloc,” he said.

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