China has made great efforts to faithfully implement its obligations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) since it joined the body five years ago, Chinese Ambassador to the WTO Sun Zhenyu has said.
Since 2001, China has reviewed more than 2,000 trade-related laws and regulations, abolishing over 700 of them and amending others to bring them into full compliance with its commitments, Sun told Xinhua ahead of the five year anniversary of China's WTO entry, which falls on Monday.
China's average tariff for industrial goods was lowered from 14.8 percent before its WTO accession to 9.1 percent in 2005, and the tariff for agricultural products was down from 23.2 percent to15.35 percent, Sun said.
China has also opened up nine service sectors and 102 sub-sectors to the committed levels, which are much higher than the average levels committed by developing members. Those sub-sectors include banking, insurance, distribution, telecoms, legal service, accounting, etc..
Sun added that China had also made huge efforts to enhance protection of intellectual property rights. China's patent fee and other related payments are increasing dramatically on annual basis, reaching US$4.5 billion last year.
Sun admitted that China, as a young WTO member, still had room to improve in implementing its WTO obligations.
But he noted that all WTO members, including the US and the EU, need to improve their performance, and the US and EU should not measure China's performance with standards that exceed China's commitments and capacity.
Sun said as five years passing by, China might face more challenges as a WTO member.
The passing of the five-year "transitional period" means China's overall market opening will be uplifted to a new level, and China will have a more important role to play in the WTO, he said.
China's influence on world economy and world trade would grow further, which would be seen as a challenge as well as an opportunity for developed countries, he said.
Sun predicted that the US and EU might take more trade protectionist measures against China and trade disputes involving China might increase.
He said China would also face more pressure in the Doha Round of trade talks, as WTO members might demand China further open its markets. He also mentioned challenges in the fields of agriculture, finance and energy.
To face the new challenges, China must resolutely continue its reform and opening policy, play an active and constructive role in the WTO and work to improve and enhance the multi-lateral trade system, Sun said.
The ambassador said China would also further cooperation with other developing countries, and continue to provide aid to least developed countries and other poor countries.
Besides, China should try to expand domestic consumption, improve its regulation on exports, increase imports, and reduce trade surplus with major trading partners, he added.
(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2006)