Published: 16:02, April 2, 2021 | Updated: 20:32, June 4, 2023
China says it has taken lead in upholding WTO’s rules
By Zhou Jin

China rebutted on Thursday the United Kingdom's criticism of its behavior in the global trade system, saying that manipulation of trade rules by Western countries should be changed.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remark after UK international trade secretary Liz Truss called on G7 countries on Wednesday to get tough with China and to reform the World Trade Organization.

"We need to reverse the fragmentation of global trade and get the global system and WTO working again, otherwise we risk big countries going their own way and operating outside an agreed set of rules, which always spells trouble," Reuters quoted her as saying.

China will not accept the unwarranted accusations from the UK official, Hua told a daily news conference.

It is obvious to all that major Western countries are the main rule makers of the WTO, and upholding their hegemony while restricting the development of developing countries is a common practice, she said.

She noted that when China was in negotiations for accession to the WTO, those major countries refused to allow the WTO to lower its threshold for China to join the organization.

However, she said, now that China has fulfilled its WTO commitments and taken the lead in upholding WTO rules, these countries have proposed to make a new threshold targeting China.

"They manipulate the rules of the game to ensure that they will not lose, which is really unfair and should be reformed," she added.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying noted that when China was in negotiations for accession to the WTO, those major countries refused to allow the WTO to lower its threshold for China to join the organization

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This year marks the 20th anniversary of China's joining the organization. In the past 20 years, China has fulfilled its commitment, abided by WTO rules and safeguarded the multilateral trade system with the organization at its core, Hua said.

China is the world's second-largest economy, and its annual contribution to the world economy reaches about 30 percent.

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With its huge consumer market, China is the largest trading partner of over 120 countries and regions, and there are more than 1 million foreign enterprises operating in the country, Hua said.

She cited statistics showing that foreign direct investment in China increased 81 percent year-on-year in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic recession.

"If China is like what the UK official accused it of, why would so many countries and regions be willing to carry out trade exchanges with China, and why would so many foreign enterprises like to invest and do business in the country?" Hua asked.

Hua said she believes the UK knows fully well which country actually is deliberately manipulating and circumventing WTO rules, cherry-picking international rules and unilaterally blocking the election of the judges to the trade organization's appeals body, which led to the paralysis of the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism.