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    2006年4月WTO对中国首次贸易政策审议大会讨论引导人发言(英文)

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              STATEMENT BY THE DISCUSSANT
               AMBASSADOR BURHAN GAFOOR
             PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SINGAPORE
             AT THE WTO TRADE POLICY REVIEW OF CHINA,
                 GENEVA, 19 APRIL 2006

    Introduction
    Distinguished delegates,
    1 It is a great honour for me to be the discussant at the first Trade Policy Review on China.
    2 I would like to extend a warm welcome to the Chinese delegation and to His Excellency Yi Xiaozhun, the Vice Minister of Commerce of China. He is well known to many of us in Geneva and his presence here shows the importance that China attaches to this meeting.
    3 I thank the government of China and the WTO Secretariat for the report they prepared for this meeting.
    4 In my remarks today, I hope to provide a broad framework for the discussions. I plan to divide my comments in two parts.
    lIn the first part, I would like to highlight some statistics on China. I will also highlight some of the contributions made by China to the world trading system.
    l In second part, I will identify some areas of challenge for China’s economic and trade policy.
    Some Statistics and Perspective on China
    5 Let me begin with some statistics. When it comes to statistics on China, one is either impressed or overwhelmed. It is difficult to be indifferent.
    6 I was in Beijing in November 2003 for a bilateral meeting and I remember what a Chinese official said about statistics. He said, and I quote, “in China, every problem is multiplied by 1.3 billion. And every success is divided by 1.3 billion.” The official was trying to say that in China, the problems always get magnified and the achievements always get diluted.
    7 I am aware that there are limits to the usefulness of statistics. But still, they tell a powerful story about China.
    l First, China is the fastest growing economy in the world. Since economic reforms began in 1978, China’s economic growth has averaged over 9% per year. Per capita GDP made an 11-fold jump from US$ 148 in 1978 to US$1700 in 2005. in the process, 400 million people have been lifted out of poverty, which is a remarkable achievement. To quote Joseph Stiglitz, former Chief economist at the World Bank, “Never before has the world seen such sustained growth; never before has there been so much poverty reduction”.
    l Second, China is now the third largest trading nation in the world. In 2004, China’s share of the world trade was 6.7%, thereby overtaking Japan to become the third largest trader after the EU and the US. China is now the number one trading partner for many countries, including for Japan and Korea.
    l Third, China has become the largest developing country recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2004, China attracted US$60 billion in FDI, making it the third largest recipient of FDI in the world, after the United States and the United Kingdom.

    8 These statistics underline the fact that China is an open economy that is integrated into the global economy. China is not only integrated into the global economy, it is increasingly shaping the global economy.
    9 This raises a question. Is the emergence of the Chinese economy a new phenomenon? Or, is it a return to a historical equilibrium? According to calculations by the economic historian Angus Maddison, China produced a quarter of total world output 2,000 years ago, and almost the same proportion 1,000 years ago. Around 1400, China’s national economic output was estimated to be equal to that of Europe. Even as recently as 1820, it is estimated that China produced one third of the world’s output. As Martin Wolf of the Financial Times wrote recently, and I quote him, “The world economy is undergoing a revolution, as a China-led Asia returns to its historic role at the centre of affairs.”
    10 By joining the WTO in December 2001, China officially returned to the modern trading system. China has done well in many areas of economic and trade policy. I want to highlight three aspects that I regard as important contributions by China to the world economy and trading system.
    11 First, China’s economy is open to international trade and investments. This is the result of reforms begun in 1978. In fact, WTO membership has given added impetus to the reform process in China. A China that is open to trade and investments is good for the WTO and the world economy.
    12 Second, there is a clear political commitment to fulfill the obligations of WTO membership. This is evident especially in the area of tariffs. Since its accession, China has progressively lowered its MFN tariff from 15.6% in 2001 to 9.7% in 2005. All of China’s tariffs are bound at ad valorem rates. The applied rates are generally at or close to bound rates. This contributes to a stable and predictable system. Services have generally been liberalized according to China’s GATS schedule, which is extensive by developing standards. China has made specific commitments in nine out of the 12 large sectors in the WTO classification list. Again, this contributes to stability and predictability.
    13 Third, China has been an important source of growth for the world economy. According to an IMF paper in 2004, China accounted for about 24 per cent of world growth, using purchasing-power-parity-based GDP. China is a major importer of goods and services, especially from other developing countries.
    14 There is a tendency to overlook China’s importance as an importer. It is true that China’s exports grow by 28% in 2005, which is a faster rate than for its imports. Still, it should be noted that China’s imports grew by 18% in 2005. This rate of growth in imports was faster than the rate of growth in imports by US, Germany and Japan.
    15 In 2005, China was the third largest importer in the world, after the US and Germany. In 2004, China was the third largest market for LDC exports, after the EU15 and the US. Today, China absorbs almost 18% of LDC exports. The IMF assessed that China has also contributed to the recent strength in world commodity prices. China is now the world largest importer of cooper and steel, and among the largest importers of other raw materials.
    (II) Areas of Challenge for China
    16 Let me now address some of the challenges faced by China. The challenges are as numerous as the achievements. For many of the challenges faced by China, there are no simple solutions. To use a metaphor attributed to Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, reforms in China can be described as a process of “crossing the river by feeling the stones under the feet”. In other words, reforms are about moving in uncharted waters.
    17 One of the biggest challenges facing China is to maintain and deepen the reforms. While a gradual and incremental approach to reform has work well in the past, a more comprehensive approach to reform may well be necessary to maintain the high levels of growth in the future. And yet, there are many challenges to the reform process. I would like to identify five of them, but not in any order of importance.
    18 First, there is a growing public debate, within China, on reforms. This debate is not about whether reforms should continue. Instead, the debate is about the best approach to make the transition to a market economy. In other words, everyone agrees on the need for reforms but there are understandably different school of thought. One example is the discussion on the Property Rights Law during the recent National People’s Congress, which revealed viewpoints eventually, a decision on the Property Rights Law was postponed. This is not the first time that there is such a debate on reforms in China. In fact, the current debate is called the “third wave of rethink on reforms”. It will be a big challenge for the Chinese government to manage this internal debate on reforms and yet continue and deepen the reforms.
    19 The second challenge is the need to shift from an investment-driven economy to a consumption-driven economy. At the moment, investments accounts for 44% of GDP and consumption for 53% of GDP. Consumption in China, relative to GDP, is lower than the world average. Many economists have made the point that China’s future growth will have to be based on domestic demand than on exports. This is a challenge recognized by the Chinese government. The expansion of domestic consumption, especially, rural consumption, has become a major priority for the government. I would welcome the views of the Chinese delegation on any specific steps taken to encourage domestic demand.
    20 This leads to the next challenge, which is the growing inequalities in the distribution of income, especially between the urban and rural populations and between the costal and inland regions. To reduce inequality, the government outlined a plan called “the New Socialist Countryside”. There are also programmes from rural development, including one that will make up for the abolition of budgetary resources has the government committed to the rural programmes? Does the Chinese government envisage more transfer payments to rural areas in the future?
    21 The fourth challenge is the rising unemployment rate. Between 1998 and 2003, 16 million workers were laid off by SOEs. The official urban registered unemployment rate has been gradually rising, reaching 4.2% in 2004. it is estimated that over 100 million jobs have to be created during the next decade to absorb the workers laid off as a result of restructuring the economy. Also, the focus on manufacturing means that job creation in the services and agricultural sectors has been given less emphasis. In this regard, I would like to hear from the Chinese delegation if there are any steps taken to deal with the challenge of job creation in the rural and services sectors.
    22 The fifth challenge relates to business environment in China. This touches on three inter-related issues, namely, competition policy, corporate governance and property rights laws. As the public sector remains a critical player in China’s economy, it is a challenge to ensure a level playing field for the public and private sectors. In this regard, I would invite the Chinese delegation to give an update on progress in the proposed Anti-Monopoly Law that is being considered. The challenge is not just to adopt this law, but also to effectively implement it. I would also welcome an update on the Property Rights Law. As for corporate governance, the Chinese government has made many changes to its legislation to improve corporate governance. Any update would also be welcome.
    23 On trade-related issues and measures, members have submitted a record number of written questions. I do not intend to repeat them. But looking at the written questions submitted, the largest number of questions focused on contingency measures, standards and intellectual property rights. Clearly, these issues represent areas of concern for other members.
    24 On contingency measures, in particular anti-dumping, it is clear that China is a target as well as a user of such measures. From 2002 to 2004, China initiated 79 anti-dumping actions and took final measures in 52 cases. During the same period, 152 actions were initiates against imports from China, and final measures were taken on 99 cases. I should say that these numbers are not encouraging. Whoever is the user, it is a fact that greater use of contingency measures has an inevitable impact on market access. In that context, it is my hope that the numbers will decline in the future, for both the measures targeted against China and for those measures adopted by China.
    25 On standards, China has done much work to review them. Around 32% of China’s national standards are based on international standards, and China plans to revise around 44% of it standards to bring them into conformity with international standards and abolish another 11.6%. however, the fact that there are four kinds of standards, namely national, sectoral, local and enterprise standards makes the system a very complex one. In this regard, I would welcome the views of the Chinese delegation on how it plans to increase the number of national standards based on international standards.
    26 On intellectual Property Rights (IPR), China has made major important changes to its legislation. It has also taken steps to improve enforcement. There have also been some important recent announcements, in the context of China’s bilateral discussions. The challenge for China in the area of IPR is not only a question of improving coordination and enforcement. More fundamentally, it is a question of keeping up with the expectations of businesses and foreign investors in China. In fact, Chinese companies themselves have an interest in greater IPR protection as they grow into global companies.
    Conclusion
    27 Let me conclude with some comments on China’s role at the WTO. There is not doubt that China’s membership of the WTO has strengthened the organization and strengthened the world trading system. Since its membership, China has been playing a very constructive role in the WTO. We should also commend the Chinese government for its initiative in convening an informal WTO Ministerial meeting last June. In this regard, I should pay tribute to Ambassador Sun Zhenyu of China for his wise and active role in Geneva. As we move towards the conclusion of the Doha Round, it is my view that China has an even more important role to play. China has the political weight to move things forward; China has the credibility to build bridges between different sides and finally; China has the wisdom to help build a consensus. I have every confidence that in the months and years ahead, China will play its part to conclude the round and build a strong rules-based multilateral trading system.
    28 Thank you.