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MOFCOM Holds Press Briefing on the Relevant Issues about the Reform of the WTO
2018/11/27

[Gao Feng]: Dear friends from the press, good afternoon. Welcome to the press briefing of MOFCOM. We are very glad to have invited Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen and the General-director of MOFCOM Department of WTO affairs Hong Xiaodong to introduce the relevant issues about the reform of the WTO and answer the questions from the press. Next, Mr. Wang Shouwen will introduce the relevant situations.

[Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen]: Dear friends from the press, good afternoon. With the WTO as its core, the multilateral trading system based on rules is the footstone of economic globalization and free trade. It has made very important contributions to promoting global trade development, economic growth and sustainable development. In the circumstances that the world economy has undergone profound adjustments, and that unilateralism and protectionism have risen, the multilateral trading system has been severely impacted. In this regard, China supports the WTO in having necessary reform in order to enhance the WTO's effectiveness and authority.

China has proposed three basic principles and five propositions for the reform of the WTO. About the three basic principles, first, the reform of the WTO should safeguard the core values of the multilateral trading system. Non-discrimination and openness are the most important core values of the multilateral trading system. The WTO members should obey this while handling the economic and trade relations with other members within the framework of multilateral rules. The reform should strengthen the core value of the multilateral trading system and promote the WTO to play a greater role in global economic governance. Second, the reform should guarantee the development interests of developing members. Development is a core of the work of the WTO, and the reform should address the difficulties of the developing members in integrating into the economic globalization, give developing members the flexibility and policy space they need to achieve their economic development and the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and narrow the gap between the South and the North. Third, the WTO reform should follow the decision-making mechanism of consultation and consensus. Reform is related to the future of the multilateral trading system, and the topics and final results of the reform should be decided through consensus. The process of reform should ensure the common participation of the majority of members, especially the developing members, rather than be decided by a few members. We should not create "small circles." This is China's three basic principles regarding the WTO reform.

China has five propositions for the reform of the WTO. First, the multilateral trading system's status as the main channel should be upheld. The reform should maintain the multilateral trading system' status as the main channel in the process of global trade liberalization and facilitation. It cannot be confused with the so-called new concepts and new expressions. We cannot deny the authority of the multilateral trading system and "starting another stove." Second, we think that priority should be given to the key issues that threaten the survival of the WTO. Reform should put unilateralism and protectionism into the cage of the system. It should solve the urgent problems that are obviously frustrating and hindering the members of the Appellate Body as soon as possible, and ensure the various normal functioning of the WTO. Third, the reform should ensure the fairness of the rules and respond to the needs of the times. The reform should address the excessive agricultural subsidies of some developed members which has caused the long-term and serious distortions for the international agricultural trade. The abuse of trade remedy measures should be corrected, especially the surrogate country approach in the anti-dumping investigation. This practice has caused serious interference in the normal international trade. At the same time, the reform should promote the rules of the WTO to keep pace with the times and respond to the needs of the economic reality of the 21st century. Fourth, the special and differential treatment of developing members should be guaranteed. China is the largest developing country in the world. We are willing to assume obligations in the WTO that are compatible with our own level of development and capabilities. We do not allow other members to deprive China of the special and differential treatment of developing members that we deserve. Fifth, the WTO reform should respect the respective development models of its members. Reforms should eliminate some members' discrimination against specific state enterprises in investment security review and anti-monopoly review, and correct some developed members' abuse of export control measures to obstruct normal technical cooperation. China also opposes some members who deny the diversity of development models and discriminate against different development models. China disagreed on incorporating the development model into the reform of the WTO and opposed taking the accusation which has no evidence as the discussion subject of the WTO's reformation.

Dear friends from the press, these are China's three basic principles and five propositions for the reform of the WTO. Thank you.

[Gao Feng]: Thanks for the introduction of Mr. Wang Shouwen. Next, please ask questions about the theme of today's briefing. Please introduce the news organizations you represent before asking questions as usual. Please ask questions now. The floor is open.

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