China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will increase the confidence of international investors, Lord Charles Powell, president of the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), said Saturday at an international investment forum.
"WTO membership will cement the economic reform process in China, and speed up further restructuring," said Lord Powell in a keynote speech at the 2001 International Investment Forum held during the Fifth China International Investment and Trade Fair in this coastal city in south China's Fujian Province.
"I have no doubt that China's membership will increase the confidence of international investors, which is vital if China is to maintain the inflow of foreign investment and technology needed to spur the modernization of its economy and thus maintain the growth so necessary for the Great Western Development Policy to be a success," he said.
WTO membership will open China's economy to world markets and bring much greater competition, which will increase business efficiency. It will also provide China with greater access to world markets and bring it into the world trade decision-making process, making it harder for other countries to discriminate against China, he pointed out.
However, the CBBC president listed a number of challenges and responsibilities as well. The membership requires a more transparent administration. Regulations, for example, on intellectual property protection will have to be more comprehensively enforced. Regional protectionism has to be eliminated and there needs to be constant vigilance against corruption.
In order to make the most of the opportunities of WTO membership, China's program of economic reform must be driven forward energetically and relentlessly.
He warned that this will inevitably cause job losses, disruption and social problems in the short term. Referring to Britain's experience in the 1980s, Lord Powell suggested that the Chinese government should explain persuasively and convincingly why reform is necessary, and the long-term benefits it will bring.
"Then people will be ready to accept short-term hardships," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency 09/08/2001)