Representatives from WTO members participate in a conference session of trade policy review on China in Geneva, Switzerland, July 11, 2018. The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday started the first session of its seventh trade policy review (TPR) of China. (Xinhua/Nie Xiaoyang)
GENEVA, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday started the first session of its seventh trade policy review (TPR) of China, with the second session scheduled Friday.
Led by Wang Shouwen, China's vice minister of commerce and deputy China international trade representative, a team of 30 officials from 14 Chinese government agencies, as well as the head of the Chinese mission to the WTO, Ambassador Zhang Xiangchen, participated in the session.
According to Wang, since China's accession to the WTO in 2001, significant changes have taken place but one thing remains unchanged - China's consistent pursuit of opening up for cooperation and mutual benefit with all countries.
Addressing the session, he said China has provided tremendous market opportunities for world goods and services.
"From 2001, when China joined the WTO, to 2017, China's imports of goods increased at an annual average growth rate of 13.5 percent, twice as high as the world average," he said.
In 2017, he added, China's imports of goods took up 12.8 percent of the global total. Between 2001 and 2017, China's imports of services registered a yearly average growth of 16.7 percent, 2.7 times as much as the world average.
He said foreign-invested enterprises in China have gained unprecedented opportunities of development. In 2017, they contributed 44.8 percent of China's total foreign trade in goods.
U.S.-invested enterprises' sales revenue in China reached 600 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, compared with only 45 billion dollars in 2001.
Wang cited the latest survey by the European Chamber of Commerce in China saying that the business operations of European companies in China continued improving in 2017. About 66 percent of the respondents reported higher revenue than in 2016, and 93 percent reported earning growth.
Wang also said intellectual property right (IPR) protection in China has tremendously benefited IPR holders. The royalties China paid to foreign right holders surged from 1.9 billion dollars in 2001 to 28.6 billion dollars in 2017.
He also referred to the 2018 white paper by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, which says that of the most challenging issues for U.S.-invested enterprises in China, IPR ranks only 12th. It is no longer a major problem in their business operation.
By April 2018, China had brought 17 disputes to the WTO and faced 41 complaints.
"Up to now, none of the complainants has requested for retaliation against China," Wang said.
China has so far received 1,963 written questions from 42 WTO members and answered 1,627 questions submitted by 33 members two weeks prior to the TPR session.
Responses to the remaining questions will be provided in writing one month from now as per the rule, Wang said.
Benin's Ambassador to the United Nations Offices in Geneva, Eloi Laourou, opened the meeting, summarizing the report drafted by the WTO Secretariat for the TPR.
He underlined that China has adopted various changes to its trade and investment policies and measures since the previous review and has continued to make efforts to reform its customs procedures; about one third of imports are now declared through single windows.