GENEVA, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) has not only helped develop itself, but also benefited the world, China's Ambassador to the WTO Li Chenggang told Xinhua in a recent interview here.
Over the past 20 years, the WTO has offered a platform for China and other countries to build a community with a shared future, and China has played a constructive role in the development of the WTO, he said.
China's accession to the WTO, Li said, is a milestone for China's reform and opening up, and plays a vital role in the process of economic globalization.
"Entering the WTO meets the needs of China's development, reform and opening up," said Li.
Since its accession to the WTO in 2001, China's economic and social development has scored achievements that earned worldwide recognition. In 2020, China's GDP accounted for 17 percent of the world's total, compared with a mere 4 percent in 2001.
Over the past 20 years, China has actively implemented the concept of free trade, fulfilled its commitments to the WTO, fully participated in the work of the WTO, and substantially opened up its market. China'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 into the WTO. Among the service trade sectors, China has opened up more than 120, far beyond 100 the country promised.
China's fulfilment of its promises has earned wide recognition from the international community, said Li, adding that China has become an important engine for global economic growth, as China's average annual contribution to global economic growth in the past 20 years has been close to 30 percent. Former WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy gave China an A+ rating for meeting WTO commitments.
At present, China is the main trading partner of more than 120 economies in the world. China's total imports increased from 240 billion U.S. dollars in 2001 to 2.1 trillion dollars in 2020.
China has long ranked first among developing countries in attracting foreign investment, creating more opportunities for countries to share China's development dividends. Despite the impact of the epidemic, most foreign-owned companies in China have achieved profitability.
Li said that China's accession to the WTO has created a good external economic and trade environment for China, accelerated the reform and opening up process, and provided an important platform for China to participate in global economic governance.
"From the perspective of multilateral rules, China is transforming from a follower to an important participant in rule-making," said Li. "From the perspective of global governance, China is changing from a user of public products to a provider of public products. "
In the past few decades, China's experience in promoting reform and development through opening up has become a valuable asset and will provide useful reference for other countries, Li said, adding that China's contribution to global poverty reduction has laid a solid foundation for promoting economic globalization.
In terms of the challenges facing the recovery of the world economy, Li said that some countries are trying to solve domestic problems through unilateralism and trade protectionism, which are "a wrong prescription of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face."
Li said that the WTO still plays a fundamental role in maintaining stability and opening-up of the global trade system, which is and will be an important platform for China to interact with the world.
China will continue to maintain the authority and effectiveness of the WTO and play a more active role in the reform of the WTO, said Li, adding that China will promote global development with greater intensity and higher level of opening up, and create more opportunities for countries to share China's development dividends. Enditem