|Multilateral Trade Negotiations and China's Position by Ambassador Zhao Zhenyu|
Mrs. Lola Fong Wright, Chief Executive Officer of the PSOJ,
Your Excellency Mr. Wayne McCook, Ambassador designate to China,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I wish to thank the Trade Policy Committee of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) for inviting me to this luncheon meeting today. I am very delighted to be able to meet with so many people involved in the strengthening of China-Jamaican business ties. I would like to take this opportunity to express my warm congratulations to our common friend Mr. Wayne McCook, who will soon take up his duty as the first resident Ambassador of Jamaica to the People's Republic of China. People say "not every couple is a pair." Of course, Wayne and I are not a couple, but we two can make an excellent pair with one in Beijing and the other in Kingston to work closely for a better relationship between China and Jamaica. Of course, both of us needs the strong support from each and every one of you.
I am sure that many of you will agree with me that the relationship between China and Jamaica at present is better than ever in history. This relationship is characterized by more exchanges of high-level visits between our leaders, which has greatly enhanced mutual trust between our two countries politically. On the Chinese side, following Vice Premier Mme. Wu Yi's tour of Jamaica at the beginning of 2003, Vice President Zeng Qinghong paid a successful visit to Jamaica early this year. And on the Jamaican side, following Minister K.D Knight's visit to Beijing in 2004, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson will pay an official visit to China this month at the invitation of China's Premier Wen Jiabao. I am glad to know that some friends in the private sector have been invited by the Jamaica House to join in the delegation. Our amicable relationship can also find its expression in the trade and economic cooperation between our two countries. We all remember the exceptionally grand occasion of the China-Caribbean Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum and the China-Caribbean Trade Fair successfully launched early February this year in Kingston.
I am sure that friends from the Trade Policy Committee of the PSOJ and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade have been closely following the developments in the international trade arena, particularly as relates to the World Trade Organization negotiations. Many of you have been experts in this respect, for instance, Ambassador McCook, who was the former Senior Director of the Foreign Trade Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, have been to Geneva many times for trade negotiations. I think that you people are more familiar with trade matters than I. In spite of that, however, I will share with you some observations about China's position on the current multilateral trade negotiations just to refresh your memory.
As the objective trend of the economic development in the world today, globalization has made the economic interdependence and interaction between various countries ever stronger and brought about new driving forces and opportunities for the economic development of various countries in the world. Against this backdrop, the multilateral trade system has evolved from the GATT established in 1947 with only 23 contracting parties to the WTO that already has 148 members. These 148 members contribute to over 95% of world trade in goods, and the total value of which has also increased from about USD 58 billion in 1948 to USD8.88 trillion in 2004. This demonstrates that the multilateral trade system has played a critical role in the progress of the human society.
Nonetheless, we must be aware that in the WTO the rights of developed and developing members are not symmetrical, their obligations are not balanced and their gains are not equal. We must also be aware that the market access barriers imposed by developed nations against developing countries are far from being eradicated and that, after the long journey from the GATT, the Uruguay Round Agreements to the Doha Declaration 2001, the gap between the south and the North has been further widened instead of being narrowed.
It is in this context that China supports the Doha 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. Specifically speaking, China's position can be summarized as follows:
One, Doha Agenda should contribute to international cooperation and the sharing of gains from globalization.
Doha Development Agenda is another round of trade negotiations aimed at increasing multilateral cooperation, improving and strengthening multilateral trade system. The Doha Round has also accorded a central place to development, thus providing the developing countries with a new opportunity to participate, in a more effective way, in the multilateral trade system and integrate into the world economy. China believes that a just, rational and healthy multilateral trade system can play a unique and important role in creating a better and more stable international environment for economic development of both developed and developing countries. A successful outcome of the trade negotiations will ensure that developing countries can benefit on an equal footing from the globalization process, thus contributing to the realization of the goals set forth in the Millennium Declaration.
China believes that the Doha Round should effectively advance the process of trade liberalization. It is the major goal of the Doha negotiations to progressively expand the opening of market and create new business opportunities. The developed members are the biggest beneficiaries of trade liberalization, who should consequently start off before the others and set up a good example in the Doha Round. China is far from being a rich country. It made important commitments during the WTO accession negotiations, therefore it needs to overcome lots of difficulties in implementing WTO agreements. Nevertheless, China is willing to make joint efforts with all the other members to actively push forward the realization of the major goals of the Doha negotiations.
Two, Doha Agenda should not only reflect, but also realize the theme of development.
The Doha Round is a round of development and 85% of the members of the WTO are developing members. In the globalization process, they are confronted with not only opportunities, but also challenges. Whether these developing members can benefit from the Doha negotiations is a crucial criterion of the success of the Doha Round. In the negotiations, the full consideration should be given to the level of development and bearing capability of developing members, and special and differential treatment should be granted to the developing members so that they can retain necessary room for their policies and implement the development strategy suitable for their national conditions. We are of the opinion that negotiations on any items should be limited to trade-related areas. Assessment of implications for development is a prerequisite for the conclusion of any agreement. Consequently, issues of special interest to developing countries, such as special and differential treatment, dependence on the export of primary products, net food import, food security and rural development, will have to be given attention to and addressed at the next stage of negotiations. At the same time, developed members should adopt substantial measures in areas involving the interests of developing countries and take practical steps against trade protectionism, such as eliminating subsidies, opening up their market, reducing tariff escalation, removing tariff peaks and technical barriers. On issues of specific special and differential treatment and trans-topic issues relating to articles of existing agreements, more efforts should be made on the special concerns of developing members, their capacity building, provision of transitional period, strengthening of the supervision mechanism to the special and differential treatment and revision of specific articles. China will adopt further measures to solve concrete difficulties of the least developed countries including providing necessary aids and increasing investment to achieve common development.
Three, increased technical cooperation with developing countries should be promoted.
Developing countries pay a greater price than their developed counterparts in the process of integrating into the multilateral trade systems and implementing WTO agreements and corresponding policy adjustments. Furthermore, with the deepening of globalization and increase in the number of items and contents of the trade negotiations, developing countries are faced with numerous burdens and difficulties in terms of human resources, awareness and capacity of participation as well as financial resources.
In order to ensure the full participation of developing countries in the multilateral trade system, capacity building and technical cooperation are increasingly important to them. Cooperation in this respect should include in-depth analysis of relevant issues, information on their pros and cons and forecast of medium and long-term trends in light of the real situation of developing countries. It is necessary, through technical cooperation, to increase their negotiation skills and capability and realize effective market access and entry, thus creating a win-win situation in which, results of negotiations are shared by all.
Four, agriculture is the key topic in negotiations.
Agriculture is one of the issues of the greatest concern to most developing countries, including China. The negotiation progress on agriculture will decide the success of the Doha negotiations. We support a target date for the eventual elimination of export subsidy in the framework agreement and stand for the complete elimination of export subsidy of any kind, substantive reduction of trade-distorting domestic support and provision of implementable special and differential treatment to developing countries. In addition, negotiations on service trade and market access to non-agricultural products should also be further promoted for the final achievement of a "package agreement".
Five, views on specific issues.
On the non-agricultural products negotiations, China believes that the essential factor of development should be taken into account. It was defined in principle in the Doha Declaration and the Framework Agreement of July 2004, which should be implemented. In order to give the fragile industries of developing countries opportunities to develop and promote the export expansion of their domestic industries or sectors with potentiality, special and differential treatment should be granted to developing members in light of the July Framework Agreement.
On the trade in service sector, China is of the opinion that developed and developing members are on different levels. Their gains from the liberalization of trade in service after the Uruguay Round are imbalanced. To address this imbalance, the developing members should be granted certain room for development and policy readjustment, especially the right to administer and standardize the market. At the same time, they should be provided with opportunities to expand their service export, particularly in the areas of movement of natural persons, which was one of the few areas where the developing members have some advantages, which has a great bearing on the improvement of the people's living standard and social development. It should, therefore, be realized in the negotiations.
On the classification among developing members. China is firmly opposed to the open classification or "situational classification". Firstly, having no legal authorization, the classification means revising the Doha Declaration and re-starting negotiations. Secondly, the classification will likely lead to the split of developing members politically, and is detrimental to the progress of Doha negotiations. Thirdly, as developing members vary from each other economically, it is difficult for them to reach consensus on this issue because of lack of ready criteria to follow. Fourthly, developing member status is traditionally decided by members themselves. Therefore, the break of this tradition is neither appropriate, nor difficult to operate.
In short, holding on to the classification among developing countries will lead to the disorder of WTO, and in the end to the failure of Doha Development Agenda. As a result, the interests of both developing and developed members will be severely damaged.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since the implementation of reform and opening-up program in 1978, China has undergone a profound transformation never seen in the country before. In a short span of 26 years from 1978 to 2004, China's GDP increased from 147.3 billion US dollars to 1.6494 trillion US dollars with an average annual growth rate of 9.4%. Its foreign trade rose from 20.6 billion US dollars to 1.1548 trillion US dollars, averaging an annual growth rate of over 16%. The development and prosperity of China will not only benefit 1.3 billion Chinese people, but also bring about significant economic and trade interests and enormous business opportunities to other WTO members. China will make unremitting efforts to realize common development with all its trading partners.
Both Jamaica and China are developing countries. Jamaica, as an island nation, and along with other small developing countries, has worked very hard to promote a global development strategy that takes account of the interests of developing countries and to make progress towards a more equitable and inclusive global economic and trade system. It has consistently called for special and differential treatment in trade and aid arrangement to address the special circumstances of developing countries.
China shares a lot with other developing countries including Jamaica in promoting an equitable and reasonable international economic and trade order. As members of the WTO, especially after Jamaica took over the chairmanship of the Group 77 and China earlier this year, China and Jamaica should and can further strengthen their coordination and cooperation in advancing the new round of trade negotiations so as to consolidate the multilateral trade system and to make continued contributions to the stability and development of world economy and trade.
In today's world of increasing interdependence, the ongoing trade negotiations will have major implications for the conduct of business and ultimately may determine who survives and who does not. On the other hand, the business community, which will concretize what has been agreed on paper, has an important role to play in the evolution of the multilateral trade system. A challenge for the business sector, along with government authorities, is to find the best way that would permit it to influence the process. Businesses in both China and Jamaica, therefore, need to prepare themselves well for future cooperation not only in strengthening bilateral economic and trade ties, but also in participating in, reinforcing and advancing the multilateral trade system.
With these words, I now conclude my presentation. I hope you find it helpful.
Thank you all.