The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on the afternoon of Sept. 27, convened its eighth group study session on the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the reform of the organization.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, while presiding over the session, stressed that the WTO plays an important role in sustaining multilateralism and functions as an important stage for global economic governance. It has become a universal consensus to make necessary reforms of the WTO in line with the times. We need to have a deep understanding of the importance and urgency of participating in the reform of the WTO from the perspective of better coordinating domestic and international situations, as well as ensuring both development and security. With a strong historical responsibility and enterprise, we will fully participate in the reform of the WTO and the adjustment of international economic and trade rules. We will further boost reform and high-quality development with high-level opening up.
Gu Xueming, director and researcher of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, gave a lecture on the issue and put forward suggestions. Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee listened attentively to the lecture and held a discussion thereafter.
Xi delivered an important speech after listening to the lecture and discussion. He pointed out that China’s accession to the WTO is a milestone in China’s opening up to the world. In just over 20 years, China’s total trade in goods has increased 11 times, becoming the world’s largest trade country in goods and a major trading partner of more than 140 countries and regions, contributing nearly 30 percent to global economic growth.
China’s relations with the WTO have gone through historic changes as it gradually grows from a member who passively abides by and aligns itself with international economic and trade rules into an important participant in the adjustment of them. The fact proves that China’s accession to the WTO has not only sped up its own development, but also brought benefits to the whole world. This major decision is absolutely correct.
Xi stresses that China will firmly defend the authority and efficacy of the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core in its involvement in the reform of this trade organization, so as to actively promote the resumption of the normal operation of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism. We should firmly stand on the right side of history by championing the overall trend of economic globalization, take a clear-cut stand on free trade and real multilateralism, and oppose unilateralism and protectionism. We will firmly oppose politicizing trade issues, using trade issues as a weapon for ulterior motives, and the abuse of the concept of national security in this regard so as to build an open world economy.
Acting upon the vision of building a global community of shared future, China should present a sound and detailed proposal for its comprehensive and in-depth participation in the reform of the WTO. We will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the developing countries, including those of our own.
Xi pointed out that promoting reform and development through opening-up is an important means for China to make continuous achievements in modernization. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the reform and opening up. We must stay committed to self-reform, so as to open the door wider to the world and at the same time ensure steady progress in advancing the reform. We should be more proactive in aligning ourselves with high-standard international economic and trade rules, and expand institutional opening up with regard to rules, regulations, management, and standards. Efforts should be made to foster new pacesetters of opening up, build a new system for a higher-standard open economy, and expedite the establishment of a new development paradigm.
It is imperative to foster a world-class business environment that is market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized. With advancing efforts to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement as an opportunity, we should further unlock the potential for expanding imports, lower the threshold for market access and further advance multilateral and bilateral cooperation to attract more foreign investment. We should also speed up transforming China into a trader of quality, upgrade trade in goods, develop new mechanisms for trade in services, promote digital trade, and focus on being more digital and greener to further elevate our position in global division of labor, so that our country will march toward the middle and high end of the global value chain. At the same time, we must also safeguard our national economic security.
Xi stressed the need to build excellent competence to have a hold on the high-level opening up. It is imperative to do a good job in conducting fact-finding missions, sum up and put to good use what we have achieved in opening up and development, and strengthen the making of strategic, systematic, and forward-looking plans for opening-up work. It is essential to have a thorough understanding of the new developments and problems in international economy and trade so as to know our own mind, and have solutions ready for effective action. We should improve our capability to defend our country’s rights to and interests from development by properly utilizing international rules, and accelerate the building of a high-level professional team for opening up work, whose members are politically committed and highly competent and have venerable conduct. It is imperative to coordinate opening up and security, safeguard security, defend our rights and interests, and seek cooperation for mutual benefit through struggle.