Speech of Minister Chen Deming in the 7th WTO Ministerial Conference
Geneva, December 1st, 2009
Mr. Chair, dear Colleagues,
We suffered a rare financial and economic crisis in the past year. Currently, positive signs of recovery and growth have shown in the global economy. However, the profound impact of the crisis still lingers, the foundation for a turnaround is not yet solid, and the road to complete recovery remains long and winding. Today at this gathering, we should send a positive signal to the rest of the world, a signal to “open up, advance and reform”.
Firstly, we should keep opening-up.
Since the outbreak of the crisis, all countries have adopted a series of stimulating measures in hope of economic recovery. The fact that protectionism did not avalanche around the globe should, to a large extent, be attributed to the restrictions of WTO rules and the timely WTO supervision mechanism. In the crisis, developing countries suffered more and faced more difficulties, but we shouldn’t close the door of opening-up for fear of risks and challenges. As long as WTO members can form consensus to stand by their WTO commitments, not adopt protectionist measures and remain open, we will be able to gather enormous strength to tide over the crisis.
Secondly, we should keep advancing.
In spite of the Doha Round deadlock, the 60-year history of Multilateral Trading System has shown that free trade has kept advancing through adversity at all times. So, we should proceed with confidence. At present, achievements are hard won after 7 years of efforts and shall not be overturned for any excuse. As long as we can stick to the three principles of “respecting the mandate, locking the results and taking as the foundation the chairpersons’ texts concerning agriculture and non-agricultural market access negotiations as of December 2008”, and keep multilateral negotiations as the major channel, it is hopeful that the talks can be successfully concluded in 2010.
Thirdly, we should keep promoting reforms.
The WTO, as the only institutional arrangement governing global trade, has provided basic guarantee for its members to participate in and benefit from international trade with its constraining forces. And this has been proven again in the crisis. Meanwhile, the process of tackling the crisis has also shown that the WTO needs necessary reforms to improve its rules and functions, broaden its influence over other important international coordinating mechanisms, and assume a greater responsibility and role in governing global economy. The organization should reform toward the direction of promoting sustainable development and step up efforts in Aid for Trade and trade finance while advancing trade liberalization. As a result, developing countries, especially LDCs (Least Developed Countries), can gain real benefits from globalization.
China has always been a strong supporter of the Multilateral Trading System, a loyal defender of the free trade principles, and a positive promoter of the Doha Round talks. China is willing to make joint efforts with other members to promote the development of the Multilateral Trading System toward a more democratic, more efficient, much fairer and more balanced direction.
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