Top 10 events to commemorate WTO entry

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China's Ministry of Commerce and Xinhua News Agency on Thursday jointly selected the country's top 10 news events related to China's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the accession.

The top 10 news events are listed as below:

-- China becomes the world's biggest exporter and second-biggest importer

China's exports and imports rose in 2009 against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, making the country the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer, the General Administration of Customs announced on Jan. 10, 2010.

China's trade in goods surged to nearly 3 trillion U.S. dollars in 2010 from 509.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2001, with exports soaring by nearly five times and imports up by 4.7 times.

-- China becomes a core member of world multilateral trade system

A Chinese delegation, led by Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, took part in various negotiations aimed at reaching a breakthrough on agricultural trade and industrial market access, two key areas of the Doha Round trade opening talks, in Geneva in July 2008.

It was the first time China joined core WTO members in negotiations since it entered the WTO, signaling that the country had become a core member of the world multilateral trade system.

-- China removes restrictions on companies conducting foreign trade business

On July 1, 2004, China allowed individuals and companies, including foreigners, to engage in import and export business without obtaining government approval, for the first time in half a century.

The move came six months ahead of the schedule set in line with China's commitment to the WTO.

-- China fulfills commitment to WTO in tariff, non-tariff areas

China canceled all non-tariff trade barriers that were against the WTO rules, such as import quotas and licenses, on Jan.1, 2005. It signaled that the grace period given to China upon its entry to the WTO had basically ended.

China's overall tariff level fell to 9.8 percent in 2011 from 43.2 percent in 1986 and 15.3 percent in 2001.

-- China establishes a law system of market economy consistent with WTO rules

The Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress, China's top legislature, passed amendments to the country's trade law on April 6, 2004. The revised law took effect on July 1. It was a key part of China's efforts to review and revise laws and regulations to fulfill its commitment to the WTO.

In the past decade, the central government has reviewed over 2,300 laws, regulations and departmental rules, and local governments have reviewed more than 190,000 policies and regulations. The country gradually established a trade system in compliance with the WTO rules and further improved the law system of the socialist market economy.

-- China accelerates transformation of government functions

The Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress adopted the law on administrative licensing, which came into effect on July 1, 2004.

As a milestone in China's bid to transform government functions, the law clearly stipulates the scope, procedures, extent of authority and oversight of administrative licensing.

In another effort to make government work more transparent, the website of China's central government,, opened formally at zero hour on Jan. 1, 2006.

-- China unifies corporate income tax rates for domestic and foreign companies

China's parliament, the National People's Congress, adopted a corporate income tax law on March 16, 2007, which puts domestic and foreign-funded enterprises on an equal footing for income taxes for the first time since China's opening-up began in 1978.

The law, effective on Jan. 1, 2008, not only benefited domestic firms but also helped improve the quality and structure of foreign investment.

-- China's traditionally competitive industries make great strides

China's textile exports reached 77 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, accounting for 30.7 percent of the world's total, and its garment exports amounted to 130 billion U.S. dollars to take up 36.9 percent of the world's total, according to data released by the WTO on Oct. 21, 2011. China has become the world's biggest exporter of textiles and garments.

Other traditionally advantaged industries of China like home electrical appliance and electronic and information technology sectors have also seen their potential well tapped to meet the demand of both domestic and foreign markets.

-- China's auto output and sales top the world

China surpassed the United States in the annual volume of auto output and sales for the first time in 2009. In 2010, China's auto output and sales both exceeded 18 million units, remaining the world's biggest and setting record highs, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers announced on Jan. 10, 2011.

China's auto sector has made remarkable achievements in expanding industrial scale, building indigenous brands, developing foreign trade and restructuring the industry, with auto output surging to 18.26 million units in 2010 from 2.47 million units in 2001.

-- China turns to dispute settlement mechanism to protect economic rights and interests

On Sept. 11, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama approved punitive tariffs of up to 35 percent on all car and light truck tires from China, which entered into force on Sept. 26.

It was one of an increasing number of trade disputes China has been involved in the past decade, prompting the country to make more use of the dispute settlement mechanism to protect its economic rights and interests.

Since its entry to the WTO, China has been subject to more than 690 investigations for anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and guarantee measures and other trade remedy measures, involving 40 billion U.S. dollars. It has become a long-term task for China to oppose protectionism and maintain the multilateral trade system.



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