President Hu Jintao Delivers a Speech During the High Level Forum on the 10th Anniversary of China's Accession to the WTO

(December 11, 2011, Beijing, China)

Ten years ago today, China became a World Trade Organization (WTO) member. This is a major event in the process of China's reform and opening up, marking a new historical stage in that process.

Joining the WTO was China's major strategic decision after its comprehensive analysis of domestic and international situations, in order to accelerate the reform and opening up as well as socialist modernization. Since the accession to the WTO, China enjoys rights and adheres to obligations through a combination of self-development and promoting common development. China actively turned challenges into opportunities in the wider, higher levels of participation in international economic cooperation and competition, vigorously developed an open economy and promoted relations between China and the world, which brought about tremendous changes.

Over the past 10 years, China has fully implemented its WTO commitments, and its trade and investment liberalization and facilitation have been significantly increased. We have continued to expand market access to agricultural, manufacturing and service industries, continued to lower import tariffs, eliminated all import quotas, licenses, and other non-tariff measures which are inconsistent with WTO rules, fully liberalized foreign trade operation rights, dramatically lowered the admittance standards for foreign investors. China's general tariff level dropped from 15.3 percent to 9.8 percent, meeting and even exceeding the WTO's requirements for developing countries. The number of China's open service trade sectors has reached 100, close to that of developed countries.

We have carried out large-scale clean up and revision of laws and regulations. The Central Government has cleaned up more than 2,300 pieces of laws, regulations and departmental rules. Local governments have cleaned up more than 190,000 pieces of local policies and regulations. Stability, transparency and predictability of China's opening-up policy continue to increase.

Over the past 10 years, China has adhered to equality, mutual benefit, cooperation and opening up, bringing strong impetus to world economic development. China fully enjoys the rights of WTO members, and its economic development has received favorable external conditions. It continues to expand, in breadth and depth, its exchanges and cooperation with all countries in economic, trade, scientific and cultural fields. China's global trade volume in goods increased, ranking from the sixth to the second place, of which exports ranked first, while imports totaled $7.5 trillion. Cumulative foreign direct investment was $759.5 billion, ranking first among developing countries. Average annual growth of foreign direct investment went up more than 40 percent, reaching $68.8 billion in 2010, and ranking fifth in the world. China imported an average of $750 billion in goods, creating a large number of jobs and investment opportunities for its trade partners. Total foreign-invested enterprises in China remitted $261.7 billion profits, an average annual increase of 30 percent.

Over the past 10 years, China has actively committed itself to international responsibilities, and efforts to promote common development.

We are actively taking a series of major policy initiatives to cope with the international financial crisis with international communities, efforts to promote the world economy towards strong, sustainable and balanced growth. We strongly support the WTO Doha Round negotiations. We participate in international macroeconomic policy coordination in the G20 and other global economic governance mechanisms. We are dedicated to the reform and improvement of the international monetary system, the international trading system and commodity price formation mechanism, aimed at promoting economic globalization and regional economic integration. We hold high the banner of free trade and oppose protectionism in all forms, promote the establishment of a fair, reasonable, non-discriminatory international trading system. We actively promote the establishment of a more equitable and more balanced new global partnership for development, strengthening North-South dialogue and South-South cooperation. We have increased foreign aid efforts, providing a total of more than 170 billion yuan in foreign aid, forgiven nearly 30 billion yuan of matured debt from 50 debt-burdened poor and least developed countries. China is committed to giving zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of tariff products to the least developed countries with established diplomatic relations with China. China has trained more than 60,000 personnel for 173 developing countries and 13 regional organizations, enhancing self-development capacity in recipient countries.

Ten years of practice has deepened our understanding of developing China under economic globalization, and strengthened our confidence in the implementation of our basic national policy of opening up to the outside world. Practice has proven that China's accession to the WTO and its further opening up benefit both 1.3 billion Chinese people and people of all countries. China's development is peaceful, open, cooperative and win-win results, showing the world the great vitality and potential of China, an ancient country with oriental civilization.

Today's world is an open world. Only by continuing reform and opening up can we solve problems in the development process. 30 years ago, under the leadership of comrade Deng Xiaoping, we correctly judged the international and domestic situation, accurately grasped the theme of the times, complied with the wishes of the people, made the historic decision of reform and opening up to the outside world, thus injecting strong vitality to China's socialist modernization drive. China's rapid development over the past 30 years has relied on the reform and opening up, and China's future development must also firmly rely on the reform and opening up. Reform is the only way to maintain and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

In today's world, the development of economic globalization is deepening, and all economies are becoming increasingly interdependent. Global economic governance appeared to bring new changes, while the world economic situation became complicated and volatile, and various forms of protectionism increased significantly. International and regional hot spots and global challenges like food security, energy security, climate change and natural disasters have become increasingly prominent. The world economy is facing serious challenges.

From the Chinese point of view, after 30 years of development, China's social productive forces, overall national strength and people's living standards have seen a significant jump. China's foundation and conditions of development changed significantly. At the same time, China still remains the largest developing country in the world, with prominent issues of unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development, and of resource and environmental constraints on economic growth. Scientific and technological innovation is not strong. Industrial structure is not rational. The agricultural foundation is weak. Regional development between urban and rural areas lacks coordination. And international competitiveness is not strong. There still remain many structural and institutional obstacles constraining economic and social development.

Facing a new situation and new demands, China will adhere to a broader perspective to observe the world and China. According to the requirements of scientific development, China will implement a more proactive strategy of opening up, expand new open areas, and improve institutional mechanisms which are more suitable to the development requirements of an open economy. It will improve the level and quality of the open economy and form a new pattern to better promote reform, development and innovation.

China will further expand economic and technological cooperation. We will adapt to the international industrial transfer and changes in domestic and foreign markets. We will strengthen ties with countries in the world and pay more attention to economic and technological exchanges and cooperation, promote changes in economic development patterns and economic restructuring. We will vigorously develop the modern industrial system with structural optimization, clean and safe advanced technology, high added value, and with the abilities to absorb employment, to promote industrial structure optimization and upgrading. We will continue to enhance international competitiveness of our manufacturing industry through open markets and import of advanced technologies, to promote traditional manufacturing towards the extension of the high-end value chain, and to promote rapid development of new strategic industries. We will strengthen ecological civilization construction. We will adhere to the ideology of green, low-carbon development. We will strengthen resource conservation and environmental protection. We will develop green industries and an energy-saving environmental protection industry. We will expand services liberalization. We will steadily push forward the opening up of the agricultural sector and promote agricultural restructuring with an eye toward intensification and efficiency. We will accelerate the construction of modern cultural industry laws and regulations and permit foreign investment in cultural industries. We will pay more attention to various types of ownership, including foreign-funded enterprises, market access and fair treatment. And we will put more focus on opening up institutional innovation, technological progress and enhanced power.

China will further promote the balanced development of foreign trade. We will combine expansion of imports with stability of exports to change the foreign trade development pattern. We will strive to promote a basic balance of international payments, not to deliberately pursue trade surplus. We will improve policies to support imports, reduce the cost of imports, and raise import facilitation.

In the next five years, with the effective implementation of China's strategy to expand domestic demand, China's consumption structure will continue to upgrade and residents' consumer potential will be further released. It is expected that average annual growth of total retail sales of social consumer goods will increase more than 15 percent, and in 2015 it is expected to reach 32 trillion yuan, and domestic market scales will rank first. In the next five years China's imports are expected to exceed $8 trillion, which will bring huge business opportunities to the world.

We will strengthen economic cooperation with the major surplus countries of origin, and address bilateral trade imbalances through joint efforts. We also hope that related countries recognize China's full market economy status and relax controls on exports of high-tech products to China, to facilitate Chinese enterprises to invest in and create conditions for balanced development of bilateral trade.

China will further improve its all-round opening-up pattern. China's regional diversity and unbalanced development contain a wide range of investment opportunities. We will combine expansion of the opening-up with regional coordinated development to promote the opening of coastal, inland and border areas, so as to form a new complementary, cooperative, balanced and coordinated regional opening-up pattern. We will continue to deepen the opening up to coastal areas, encourage foreign-invested enterprises to participate in research and development, high-end manufacturing, construction of ecologically functional areas and development of modern service industry, to achieve, at a higher level, complementary advantages and cooperation. We will actively support foreign-invested enterprises to invest and set up plants in central and western regions, and to participate in the rise of central China, the great development of western regions and the revitalization of old industrial bases in northeastern regions.

We will accelerate the opening-up pace along the border areas, strengthen cooperation with neighboring countries in interconnection of infrastructure facilities, allow bilateral economic prosperity, and achieve mutual benefits and win-win results. We will actively expand cultural, educational, scientific, health and other fields of foreign exchanges and cooperation, and promote China's social undertakings while expanding its opening up.

China will attach equal importance to "bringing in" and "going global." "Bringing in" and "going global" are not only important parts of China's opening up, but also effective ways to deepen China's foreign economic and trade cooperation and promote common development with other countries. China will continue to expand the level of opening up to all fields, strengthen the coordination between industrial and foreign investment policies. China will continue to welcome international investment in China, encourage foreign investors to set up research and development centers in China and use scientific, technological and intellectual resources to promote domestic innovation. China will accelerate its implementation of the "going global" strategy, according to market-oriented and business decision-making principles to guide enterprises to the orderly conduct of overseas investment and cooperation. It attaches importance to cooperation in favor of undeveloped countries to improve their people's livelihood, enhance their independent development capacity and bear social responsibility for the benefit of local people.

China will further create a fair and transparent market environment. In accordance with requirements of changing functions, straightening out relations, optimizing structures and improving efficiency, we will accelerate the construction of rule of law and service-oriented government, continue to straighten out foreign economic laws, regulations and policy measures to deepen the reform of the administrative examination and approval system; reduce government intervention in micro-economic activities; and improve control and supervision mechanisms to promote government services in a more orderly, fair and open direction. We will enhance the enforcement of intellectual property law and judicial protection efforts to improve the market credit and supervision systems, and accelerate the formation of nationwide markets in a unified, open, competitive and orderly way to provide a good business environment for domestic and foreign investors. China will strengthen its investment environment, and continue to optimize public services and management to continuously improve market system to provide a fair, stable and transparent investment environment for domestic and foreign investors.

China will further promote common development. We will hold high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, actively participate in international affairs, assume duties and responsibilities within our capacity, and continue to play a constructive role in the international economic system. We will share development opportunities with other countries and cope with all kinds of challenges together, to enable China's development to benefit more countries and peoples. We will strengthen pragmatic cooperation with developing countries to increase economic aid and training to developing countries. We will expand mutually beneficial cooperation with developed countries, deepen good-neighborly friendship with neighboring countries, expand common interests with all parties and properly handle economic and trade frictions.

We are committed to maintaining and strengthening the multilateral trading system, continue to push forward the Doha Round negotiations, actively participate in the reform of global economic governance mechanisms, and push the international economic order towards a more fair and reasonable direction. We will accelerate the implementation of free trade strategies to put regional economic integration into a better and faster development. Facing the international financial crisis, food crises, climate change and major natural disasters, China will work together with other countries to deal with the challenges facing the international community, so as to make new contributions to the building of a harmonious world with lasting peace and common prosperity.

China's development is inseparable from the world, while the world's prosperity and stability cannot be separated from China. With more than a billion people, China has carried out reform and opening up, which is a hard exploration and great practice in the history of human development. China's development achievements are closely related to friendly cooperation with all countries, and China's future development needs understanding and support from the international community. We sincerely thank all the countries and peoples who understand, care for, support and help China's development.

We have repeatedly and solemnly declared that China unswervingly follows the road of peaceful development, pursues a mutually beneficial and win-win opening-up strategy, and remains dedicated to promoting common development while achieving its own development.

In the future, China will unswervingly act as a practitioner of peaceful development, a driver of common development, a maintainer of the multilateral trade system and a participant in global economic governance. We firmly believe that a reforming and opening China, a prosperous developing China and a harmonious and stable China will make new and greater contributions to mankind!

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