It has been three years since China joined the World Trade Organization. At the end of 2004, several of the nation's core industries will see their transition period end and for the first time they will be fully exposed to international competition. In response, China is accelerating the formulation of new policies to adopt WTO standards.
Vice Minister of Commerce Wei Jianguo said at the First Seminar on Promoting Auto and Parts Exporting, sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce and the State Development and Reform Commission, that 2004 will be a year of great industrial policy changes even though progress has been reported during the transition period.
Wei said: "We must bear a sense of urgency, crisis and responsibility. We must examine the actual situation and weaknesses so that we can set a goal and explore new approaches to development."
This year will be a watershed to China's auto and components industry.
"Great changes will be implemented in China's auto sector policy," said Wei.
Import quotas on agricultural products such as wheat, corn, rice, cotton and wool will also be called off at the year's end. The telecommunications, insurance, securities and retail industries will give wider access to international players.
China will end its foreign trade inspection and approval system to grant all enterprises inside China the right to import and export products. This means China has one final year to correct its lumbering foreign trade management and enterprise operation systems.
Said Wei, "The Ministry of Commerce will spare no effort to adjust policies overall to make the impact an advantage and an opportunity for domestic industries to achieve scientific, comprehensive and sustainable economic growth."
(China.org.cn by Alex Xu, April 11, 2004)