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Foreign Representatives Confident of China's Commitment to WTO
China's compliance with commitments

Foreign representatives attending the China Development Forum 2002 expressed their confidence in China's commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"Now that China has joined the WTO, attention in the West has shifted to the prospects of China's compliance with the substantive commitments it has made," said Nicholas R. Lardy, senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, based in Washington D.C.

He said China had already gone a long way towards dismantling the pervasive protectionism that characterized its trading system two decades ago. In recent years, tariffs in China had continued to decline.

By last year, quotas and licensing requirements restricted only five percent of all imports, compared with almost half a little more than a decade ago. The government had committed itself to phasing out restrictions on trading rights for many products over a three-year period -- a pledge that China should have no difficulty fulfilling, he added.

Chinese economy stands test

Stephen Roach, chief economist of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, said the Chinese economy had passed yet another important test with the international economic downturn. This was the second time in four years that China had to face a major external shock. With the downside of this recession having come and gone, the Chinese economy had emerged largely unscathed.

Some worried that China's exports would fall, which would affect its normal seven percent GDP growth. However, from last November to this January, exports climbed again very soon. This provided China with a structural source for export demand that was largely insensitive to the vicissitudes of the global business cycle, he said.

Chinese economy to be transformed

Edward G. Galante, senior vice president of ExxonMobil, said that with the implementation of these commitments, the Chinese economy would be transformed. And in that transformation lay the great promise of expanding trade and investment relations, and the enormous benefits that economic reform could produce.

One of the anticipated benefits would be the enhanced appeal of China as a place to do business. Many international companies were increasingly engaged in new ventures in China. The role of foreign investment would almost certainly increase as the benefits of WTO membership and liberalized economic rules took hold.

(Xinhua News Agency March 25, 2002)

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