|Statement by Ambassador Liu Zhenmin, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN, at the Second Committee of 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly on agenda item 47 (a) : Trade and Development|
5 November 2008
The Chinese delegation would like to thank the Secretary General for his report under this item. It associates itself with the statement made by the representative of Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
This year has seen unprecedented challenges to the world economy: the financial crisis has spread all over the world; commodity prices have been fluctuating drastically; the Doha Round negotiations are at an impasse; and the growth of world trade is experiencing a marked slowdown. By the IMF projection, the growth of world trade will slide to 4.9% this year, and further drop to 4.1% in 2009. The sustainable development of the developing countries is encountering formidable challenges .With a visible increase of risks of a world economic downturn, the external environment for developing countries' participation in international trade will be more uncertain, and their task of promoting trade for development will be more arduous, so the international community should work harder to foster an international trade regime conducive to development.
Trade is one of the engines for development. Free and orderly international trade is a requisite and effective way to promote sustainable development of the developing countries. Energizing the Doha Round negotiations and improving the multilateral trading regime will not only help cushion the impact of the financial crisis and boost the confidence of the international business community, but also assist the developing countries to overcome their current difficulties. While there will be no winners if the Doha Round fails, all countries will benefit from a successful outcome of the Round. The Doha Round should remain firmly focused on development, take into full account the level of development and resilience of its developing members, and give real expression to their development needs and special concerns.
The international community should facilitate the earlier resumption of the Doha Round negotiations, so as to give a powerful impetus to the efforts to revitalize the world economy. The stagnation of the Doha Round will undoubtedly give rise to more rampant protectionism, further aggravating the world economy already buffeted by the recent financial crisis, and the longer the stagnation, the greater its negative impact. China will continue its close cooperation with other members and play a constructive role in facilitating the early resumption of the negotiations and in working towards a comprehensive and balanced outcome of the resumed negotiations.
UNCTAD, as an important body within the UN system responsible for an integrated treatment of issues related to trade and development, should take on greater responsibilities and play a bigger role. At UNCTAD XII held last April, broad consensus was reached on many important issues in world economy, making positive contributions to addressing the development issues of the developing countries. We call on all parties to make concerted efforts to implement the Accra Accord reached at UNCTAD XII, further strengthen the three major functions of the UNCTAD, bring into play UNCTAD's comparative advantage and make the work of UNCTAD more effective at international, regional and national levels, so as to ensure a greater role by UNCTAD in the area of trade and development.
China has been pushing for the establishment of a development-oriented international trade regime. Since it became a member of the WTO seven years ago, China has honored its commitments by progressively lowering tariffs, expanding the scope of opening-up, and standardizing its foreign trade system, and has become one of the most open economies in the world. At present, China's average rate of tariff has been brought down to 9.8%, a quarter of the world's average, of which the tariff for industrial products has been lowered to 8.9% and that for agricultural products to 15.2%. More than 100 Chinese service sectors have been opened to foreign participation, reaching a level close to that of developed members of WTO. Since it joined the WTO, China has imported a total of over $4 trillion of goods, promoting the development of global trade on the strength of its own economic growth. In future, the Chinese government will continuously enhance its mutually-beneficial and win-win type of economic and trade cooperation with other countries and, together with the people of the world, work to build a harmonious world of common development and prosperity.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.