China's WTO Entry
China: Louder Drumbeat of Opening, Reform After WTO Accession

China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) will considerably speed up the integration of China's economy with the global economy --- a common view of officials and experts in Beijing.

With a solemn hammer down in Doha Sunday, China, with its 15 years of efforts, has finally been admitted as a member of the WTO. This move is generally held as the most significant event since China adopted the policy of opening and reform in the late 1970s.

In big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, WTO-related forums and training programs have been hot for some time, Chinese newspapers spare no pages to print knowledge and discussions about the WTO. But what people care most is what will come about after the WTO and how the WTO membership will affect the country's development.

State Councilor Wu Yi, who was former minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation, said that China's WTO membership is a milestone in China's opening and reform history, following which will be three "shifts", namely, a shift from the previous limited opening to the all-round opening; a shift from the previous tentative and policy-guided opening to the opening under a legal framework and a shift from unilateral opening to bilateral and multilateral opening among WTO members.

In the past two decades, China's reform and opening have been proceeding in a step-by-step manner, on the basis of gaining experiences from selected areas and sectors. And this has ensured the success of the opening up policy. After China's entry into the WTO, China is expected to witness a leap forward in opening up itself in line with the timetable prescribed by relevant WTO agreements.

Chinese leaders have on many occasions emphasized that China will firmly honor its promises made in the negotiations and will abide by international laws and norms.

Opening up will bring about both opportunities and challenges. To meet the challenges, China has to complete necessary reforms and establish a complete and standard socialist market economic order.

An article written by Wu Jinglian, a famous Chinese economist, holds that the opportunities are potential while the challenges are impending. And it takes arduous efforts to turn potential opportunities into those at hand.

Wu said that the entry means that Chinese enterprises and governmental departments should play cards in accordance with WTO rules, and this will surely drive forward administrative and corporate reforms.

Shanghai mayor Xu Kuangdi said as China's industrial and financial center, Shanghai has worked out action plans in transforming functions of governmental departments, developing intermediate institutions, establishing enterprise credit system and social security system.

Li Yining, also a famous economist, said economic sectors such as finance, manufacturing industry and agriculture should accelerate reform process and adopt effective measures to substantially solve the existing problems, so as to meet the new challenges.

Many experts hold that the two decades of reform and

opening up have laid a solid foundation for further economic development, believing that China can not only grasp the opportunities following the WTO entry, but also successfully handle the challenges


(People's Daily November 12, 2001)


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