China key for trade growth

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Friday lauded China for the significant role it has played in reviving global trade growth and said the nation has more than fulfilled its commitment to the organization.

The WTO said in its annual report released on Friday that it expects global trade to grow by 10 percent this year.

WTO chief Pascal Lamy told reporters in Shanghai that "trade growth is coming back fast after a terrible 2009, thanks in no small measure to the continuing dynamism of China and the other nations."

"China's strong economic growth and its demand for imports are important factors in the stabilization of the global economy," said Lamy.

The nation has also quickly integrated into the world economy after it entered the WTO in November 2001. It has been an active member and has strictly adhered to the WTO rules, he said.

Lamy's comments are in sharp contrast to the tirade launched by the US against the nation and its trade policies. US Deputy Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis had recently said in Washington that China must honor its past commitments and provide new market access. "Failure to do so imperils not just our bilateral ties, but also the success of multilateral trade talks," said Marantis

Firing a salvo, he said the US may even file new WTO plaints against China to defend its (US) rights.

Marantis' comments came after China submitted a revised proposal on government procurement agreement (GPA) to the WTO. Under the new proposal, China plans to open up some sectors of government procurement to foreign companies.

"China's latest GPA offer is better than its earlier proposal," Lamy said.

"The nation has fully fulfilled its commitments and set up a trade mechanism in line with the WTO rules. The Chinese market is now one of the most open markets worldwide," the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Wednesday.

Tariffs on commodities were slashed to 9.8 percent in 2009 from 15.3 percent before 2001. The tariffs on agricultural goods have fallen to 15.2 percent and 8.9 percent for industrial goods.

"China has also removed all non-tariff measures to abide by the commitments it has made," said the ministry

In terms of service trade, China has opened up 100 service sectors, including banking, insurance, telecommunications, education, distribution and accounting, it said.

China has also made significant contribution and commitment during the recent Doha Round talks, said the ministry.

The Doha Round of negotiations began in 2001 and aims to reduce tariffs and eliminate trade barriers. The talks were suspended several times in the past nine years due to differences between the developed and developing nations on key issues like agricultural tariffs.

During his visit to Beijing on Wednesday, Lamy expressed serious concern on the delay in negotiations and said failure to clinch an early deal will seriously hurt the image of WTO.

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