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Statement by Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng to the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the WTO following the adoption of the Decision on China's Accession to the WTO

2001/11/10


(November 10, 2001)

Mr. Chairman,

After 15 years of difficult negotiations, we finally came to this historical moment. Hereby, on behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to appreciate the WTO Ministerial Conference for its adoption of the Decision on China's Accession to the WTO. And I would like to take this opportunity to thank all WTO Members and Mr. Girard, Chairman of the Working Party on China, for your support for China's accession over the years. My gratitude also goes to Mr. Mike Moore, Director-General of the WTO, to the former Director-Generals of GATT and the WTO, Mr. Dunkel, Mr. Sutherland and Mr. Ruggiero who have given their support and assistance in the past 15 years.

The WTO accession and its full participation in the multilateral trading system are strategic decisions made by the Chinese leaders under accelerated economic globalization. China has made longstanding and unremitting efforts for resuming its GATT Contracting Party status and for acceding to the WTO, which fully demonstrates the resolve and confidence of China to deepen its reform and to open further to the outside world. The WTO accession is not only in the interests of China, but also in the interests of all WTO Members and conducive to the development of the multilateral trading system. It will inevitably exert widespread and far-reaching impact on China's economy and on the world economy in the new century. After its accession, China will, on the basis of the balance between rights and obligations, abide by the WTO rules and honor its commitments while enjoying its rights. China will, as always, value and strengthen equal and mutually beneficial economic and trade relations with countries and regions in the world, and play an active and constructive role in the multilateral trading system and make its positive contribution to the progress of world economy and trade together with other WTO Members.

Mr. Chairman,

China first participated in the Uruguay Round Negotiations in September 1986 and witnessed the historical transformation of the multilateral trading system from GATT to the WTO. Meanwhile, China's negotiations for the accession to the multilateral trading system over the past 15 years have been an integral part of the process of its reform and opening up from the beginning to the end. We have drawn the following three basic conclusions from our own experiences:

First, only by participating in the multilateral trading system with a positive stance, can various countries in the world better share the benefits of economic globalization;

Second, during the course of economic globalization, only by establishing an economic and trade regime in line with international practices and the specific situation of the country, can they avoid their disadvantages and fully play out advantages, and therefore effectively safeguard their respective economic security while opening to the outside world; and

Third, only by constantly adapting itself to the development and changes of world economy and by fully reflecting the interests and requirements of all parties including developing countries, can the multilateral trading system maintain its vigor and vitality.

Mr. Chairman,

The road from Seattle to Doha is by no means an easy path, which has generated profound thoughts and enlightenment. The Seattle Conference two years ago failed to launch the new round of multilateral trade negotiations. We believe that in face of the rapid development of economic globalization of today, we should follow the development of the situation and to jointly formulate relevant rules through consultations on an equal footing among Members and to carry out effective coordination and management over the ever widened and complicated international economic and trade activities.

Therefore, we need to face up to the obvious defects of the existing multilateral trading system so as to reflect the interests and demands of developing countries in a more adequate fashion. We need to invite all Members to formulate the international trade rules of the new century through equal participation and consultation, so as to enable more developing countries to share the opportunities and interests brought about by the economic globalization and to avoid the further widening of the gap between rich and poor and protect some countries against being marginalized.

Mr. Chairman,

China supports the launch of a new round of multilateral trade negotiations on the basis of full consideration of the interests and reasonable requirements of developing countries. China believes that a new round should be conducive, first, to the establishment of a fair, just and reasonable international economic new order; second, to the development of world economy as well as trade and investment facilitation; and third, to the achievement of a balance of interests between developed countries and developing countries.

We believe that to achieve the above goals, we need to ensure that in the new round,

Full consideration be given to the development level of relevant industries of developing countries and special treatment be rendered to the extent and speed of their opening;

Pragmatic and effective measures be adopted to guarantee the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements;

All-round and effective participation of developing members be guaranteed and both the identification of topics and the negotiations be based on consultation on an equal footing; and

A balanced and package approach be taken to ensure that the results of the negotiations reflect an overall balance of the interests of various parties.

Mr. Chairman,

The new century is full of opportunities and challenges. Let us work together to meet these challenges, and to consolidate and strengthen the multilateral trading system and to make continued contributions to the stability and development of world economy and trade.

In conclusion, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese government, to express our appreciation to the Qatari government for its hard work for the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the WTO.

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