Geneva, 2 June 2010 - A two-day review of China’s trade policy and practice has concluded in Geneva with the EU praising China’s impressive role in world trade and its swift rebound from the crisis. The EU believes China could have a positive knock-on effect on other economies if it uses its vast stimulus package to boost internal demand and sticks to its WTO promise for an open economy. China, as a leading trading nation, is subjected every two years to this comprehensive multilateral peer-review.
In addition, the EU has called on China to shoulder its responsibilities in the multilateral trading system and stick to WTO rules and its accession commitments such as non-discrimination. For example, China now needs to take on an increased leadership role, especially in the Doha talks, that reflects its global economic weight. The EU has also expressed concerns about a slow-down in reform and less transparency. Furthermore, it has submitted more than 200 technical questions to China on many aspects of its trade policy.
In its opening statement to the Trade Policy Review (TPR) meeting in Geneva on 31 May, the EU drew attention to some specific concerns:
- The continued problem of non-tariff barriers in China. EU pointed to the burdensome regulatory regime, which is characterised by low alignment to international standards, the recurrent use of export barriers, and investment restrictions to foreign companies. For the EU it is also essential that China's innovation policy ensures open and fair competition without restrictions in terms of market access.
- EU acknowledged improvements in Intellectual Property Rights protection in China, but emphasised the urgent need for greater enforcement efforts, including effective customs controls and criminal prosecution.
- The unjustified state interference in the economy persists. This is true notably in the manufacturing sectors, in which China has become a leader worldwide, such as automobiles. The Chinese government's guidance in allocating resources and official trade finance support are other examples.
- The need for greater transparency in policy-making and regular public consultations with foreign and domestic stakeholders. EU urged China to make its trade regime significantly more predictable and transparent.
The third Trade Policy Review (TPR) of China has taken place in Geneva on 31 May and 2 June 2010. Trade Policy Reviews are an important part of the transparency function of the WTO, alongside its negotiation and dispute settlement functions. They allow WTO members to review openness to trade and raise questions and concerns over market barriers. The EU has submitted over 200 detailed written questions to China as part of the 2010 TPR exercise. The full list of questions and China's final responses are expected to be published by the WTO in 60 days' time.
China is the EU's fastest growing export market. Europe exported €81.6 billion worth of goods to China in 2009 - up by 4% in 2008, while EU imported more than €214 billion of goods from China. China is the world largest exporter and second largest importer. China is set to overtake Japan as the world's second largest economy in 2010.