The fifth World Trade Organization (WTO)trade policy review of China, where WTO members examine the trade policies and practices of China over the past two years, began here on Tuesday.
Wang Shouwen, head of the Chinese delegation and Assistant Minister of Commerce of China, told members about the efforts taken by China's new leadership in pushing forward the comprehensively deepening reforms as well as China's trade and investment development.
Wang said the core of the reform was to strike a balance between the role of the government and that of the market, allowing the market to play a decisive role in resources allocation, and bringing the government's role into better play.
At present, reform measures were being unfolded across the board, including those in regard of administrative examination and approval system, industrial and commercial registration system, and the fiscal and taxation and financial systems, Wang said.
He noted that the Chinese government was also committed to pressing ahead proactively with the opening-up drive and accelerating the improvement of a new open economic system, with a series of measures having been adopted for the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, such as those to streamline administration procedures, to facilitate customs clearance and to advance the Renminbi settlement business for cross-border trade.
Wang introduced that thanks to the above-mentioned measures, China has maintained sustained and robust growth in its two-way investment and external trade.
China has been the largest trading partner of over 120 countries and regions by now. With a total import and export value of close to 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars in 2013, China became the world's largest merchandise trader.
In breakdown, China's import grew by 7.3 percent year-on-year to 1.9 trillion dollars, with its share in the world rising to 10.3 percent, up by 0.5 percentage points from the previous year.
Wang highlighted that since the last review, the Chinese government has adopted other key measures in pursuing its opening-up strategy, including the announcement in September 2013 of establishing the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and the launch of important initiatives of the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road".
Wang noted that since its accession to WTO, China has actively assumed its due responsibilities as a major developing trading nation, having cut its overall tariff level from 15.3 percent to 9.8 percent, pledged not to use agricultural export subsidies, eliminated all import quotas and specific import tendering requirements, and opened up over one hundred services sectors and sub-sectors.
He also pointed out that China, though being the second largest economy in the world, remains a developing country facing daunting development tasks, challenged by the low per capita GDP, lagged-behind process of urbanization, unfinished industrialization, and the need to climb up the global value chain, etc.
Wang said that as it fulfills its own development tasks, China stands ready to assume responsibilities in international trade and economic affairs commensurate with its own level of development.
"China will remain committed to comprehensively deepening reform through accelerating the restructure of administrative, fiscal and financial systems to boost economic vitality across the ownership spectrum," said Wang.
He added that the government will push forward a new round of opening-up, actively utilize foreign investment, further open up the services sector, and create a level playing field for Chinese and foreign businesses to compete on an equal footing.
He noted that China will further open up inland and border areas, promote upgrading of export mix and trade growth in a balanced manner, and unify laws and regulations for domestic and foreign investors, improve the investment administration regime and further step up the reform on cross-region customs clearance.
"China will continue to champion and safeguard the multilateral trading system, support the Doha Round negotiations, and help steer the multilateral trading system towards greater balance, universal benefit and win for all," said Wang.
It was introduced that China has received over 1,600 written questions from 30 WTO members in advance of this year's review, a reflection of close attention paid to China's trade policies and practices and of China's increasing importance in global trade.
Members will make comments and raise questions with China during Tuesday's session. The Chinese delegation will deliver replies when the review continues on Thursday.
Trade policy reviews are an exercise, mandated in WTO agreements, in which member's trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored.
All WTO members are subject to review, with the frequency of review depending on the economy's size. The United States, China, the European Union and Japan are reviewed every two years.