--- SEARCH ---
Chinese Women
Film in China
War on Poverty
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service
China Calendar
Telephone and
Postal Codes
Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the UN
Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.
Actions Help to Build Free and Fair Trade

To build the Asia-Pacific region into one prosperous and dynamic community, we need to meet the pressing challenges and make the necessary changes.

That can't happen without strong leadership and concrete action.

This theme was discussed at the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) meeting that kicked off on Friday in the Republic of Korea's port city of Busan.

APEC ministers urged their leaders to display strong leadership. At a time when the region confronts so many shared concerns like the imminent threat of bird flu and the need to counter terrorism, such a call for joint forces is badly needed.

However, as to shore up flagging talks on the Doha trade round, one topic tops the annual meeting's agenda: The strong leadership that this Pacific Rim economic community wants to claim can only come, first of all, from its own commitments and deeds to advance free trade.

Talking tough, in itself, does not make one a leader in promoting free and fair trade, even though other trade partners indeed have a lot to do to live up to their obligation to the World Trade Organization.

Clearly, the case in point is the impasse caused by the European Union's refusal to make further cuts in import tariffs on farm goods as the United States made a bold proposal on slashing wealthy nations' agricultural subsidies.

A trans-Atlantic agreement is crucial to revitalizing the Doha trade round for which time is running out. The WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong next month is believed by many as a de facto last chance to save the Doha Development Agenda, distinguished for its aim to give developing nations bigger benefits from trade.

A recent World Bank report estimates that abolishing tariffs, subsidies and domestic-support systems would boost global wealth by nearly US$300 billion per year by 2015. And almost two-thirds of that increase will come from cutting farm supports.

The benefits of agricultural trade liberalization in rich nations are vital for developing countries, particularly, those least developed, which have so far been unfairly locked out of the main markets where they have a comparative advantage.

The APEC forum is surely determined to make its voice heard from Busan on global trade talks.
But before pointing the finger on outsiders, leaders of the region should better focus more on how to build this community into a model of free and fair trade.

With several APEC economies facing strong home resistance to opening long-protected markets, our leaders should try to figure out a working solution, at least as an alternative to the WTO approach, to create a level trade environment for the region.

In fact, true believers of free trade will not doubt the merit of removing trade barriers.

Even if these protectionist measures were dismantled unilaterally, the benefit of a freer flow of goods and service for the country and most of its trade partners will far outweigh the temporary loss it suffers from protectionist competitors.

After all, protectionist measures cannot last forever. The later they are removed, the less competitive those domestic sectors they protect will be, and the more the economy will have to pay for them, economically and politically.

Hence, any unilateral effort by those APEC members to open agricultural markets will not only testify their commitment to trade liberalization but also add to the community's stance in international trade.

With its members accounting for more than one-third of the world's population, about 60 per cent of the world's GDP and nearly half of global trade, APEC is bound to assume a greater role in helping build a free and fair global trading system.

But that goal can only be achieved by action, not merely advocacy.

(China Daily November 19, 2005)


Hu Calls for Removal of Trade Barriers
China Pledges Further Contributions to Sustained Expansion of Global Trade
APEC Urges Flexibility to Break WTO Deadlock
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688