Fri, 22 Sep 2023

by Xinhua writer Dong Yue

BEIJING, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Over the past two decades since China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), some rabble-rousing Western countries have from time to time sought to flummox the global community by hyping up a myth that China has failed to honor its entry commitments.

It does not take rocket science to debunk those ill-founded, and sometimes deceptive, allegations. A simple comparison between China's entry pledges, publicly listed on the website of the WTO, and China's practices over the past 20 years can easily lead any objective minds to the solid conclusion that China, instead of being a breacher, has been a faithful keeper of its WTO promises.

In terms of opening its market, China has honored its commitments with concrete actions. The country's overall tariff level has dropped to 7.4 percent from 15.3 percent in 2001, lower than the 9.8 percent the country promised when entering the world trade body.

China has also widely opened its market in the services industry. Relevant documents on China's accession to the trade organization stipulated that 100 sub-sectors in nine categories needed to be opened by 2007. That is a level close to the average 108 sub-sectors of developed countries. Now, Beijing has opened nearly 120 sub-sectors, which means that China has over delivered in this regard.

To conform with the WTO rules, China has revised its laws, regulations and policies. Since 2001, more than 2,300 laws and regulations have been reviewed and revised by the central government in Beijing, and over 190,000 by local authorities.

On protecting intellectual property, China has set up intellectual property courts in more than a dozen cities countrywide. In addition, more efforts have been made to provide administrative and judicial protections.

China has also walked the talk in improving transparency. It has notified the WTO in a timely manner of the adjustment and implementation of its legislation, as well as of laws and regulations. The number of notifications has exceeded 1,000.

China's actions have been acknowledged by several directors-general of the WTO and most of the organization's members. Pascal Lamy, a former WTO director-general, acknowledged that China has delivered an "A-plus performance" since its WTO accession.

In fact, the so-called "China commitments" those Western demagogues talk about are either fabricated or misinterpreted and China's proven track-record deliberately twisted or even ignored.

For example, some from the West have criticized China for keeping certain areas off-limits to foreign investments, and cited this as a proof of China's falling short of its promises. The fact is that the WTO has no regulations for these areas, not to mention "China commitments." Many countries have similar prohibitions or restrictions in these areas as well.

Obviously, when some Western countries try to spread their lies regarding China's failure to honor its commitments, they are actually saying "China does not serve my interests well." They care little about what China really promised in 2001, but much about how to manipulate the facts to best serve their interests.

More ironically, while advocating a rules-based trade system and requiring China to do more than it promised, those Western countries themselves are breaking the rules and disrupting the global trade order by promoting unilateralism and isolationism. Rules are rules only when they are in the interests of these countries.

Yet China is still endeavoring to open its door wider. That should in no way be interpreted as evidence alleging China is still on the way to fulfill its WTO entry commitments.

Actually, after honoring all its entry commitments, China has further opened up its marketplace as it understands that sharing its development opportunities with the wider world can greatly sustain its growth momentum.

As the world economy is still grappling with fierce headwinds of anti-globalization and major obstacles resulting from the pandemic, those Western countries should stop smearing China's WTO records. Instead, they should do some soul-searching about their own behavior, and join China in building a more open global economy. That is how they can best serve their own interests and the common good of the wider world.

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