The CCP Central Committee Politburo conducted its eighth collective study on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and WTO reform on the afternoon of September 27th. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CCP Central Committee, stressed that the WTO is an important pillar of multilateralism and an important arena for global economic governance. Carrying out necessary reforms of the WTO is the general consensus and general trend. From the high vantage point of better integrating the domestic and international situations and better integrating development and security, we should deeply understand the importance and urgency of participating in the reform of the WTO. With a more active historical commitment and creative spirit, we should fully participate in WTO reform and in the adjustment of international economic and trade rules, and use high-standard opening up to the outside to promote deep-level reform and high-quality development.
Gu Xueming, Director and Fellow of the Research Institute of the Ministry of Commerce, explained this issue and put forward suggestions for work. Comrades from the CCP Politburo listened carefully to the explanation and held a discussion.
After listening to the explanation and discussion, Xi Jinping delivered an important speech. He pointed out that joining the WTO was a milestone in China’s opening up to the outside. In the short span of 20-plus years, China has increased its total trade in goods 11-fold, becoming the world’s top goods-trading country and the principal trading partner of more than 140 countries and regions, and contributing on average nearly 30 percent to global economic growth per year. China’s relationship with the WTO has undergone historic changes. From a passive recipient, and then an active adapter, of international economic and trade rules, it has gradually grown to become an important participant. Facts show that accession to the WTO not only accelerated China’s own development, but also benefited the world. This major decision was entirely correct.
Xi Jinping emphasized that in participating in WTO reform, it is necessary to firmly safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, and actively push for the resumption of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism’s normal operation. We should stand firmly on the right side of history, adhere to the general direction of economic globalization, advocate free trade and genuine multilateralism, oppose unilateralism and protectionism, oppose politicization, weaponization, and over-securitization of economic and trade issues, and push for building an open world economy. We should uphold the concept of a community of common human destiny and improve and refine China’s proposal for comprehensive and in-depth participation in WTO reform. We will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the vast number of developing countries, including China.
Xi Jinping pointed out that using opening up to promote reform and development is an important and effective tool for constantly making new achievements in China’s modernization and construction. This year marks the 45th anniversary of reform and opening up, and we should continue to do a good job in this grand chapter of our own reform, both widening the door of opening up and stabilizing the road of reform. We should take greater initiative in linking high-standard international economic and trade rules, steadily expand the rules, regulations, management, standards, and other institutional aspects of openness, accelerate the creation of new hubs of opening up to the outside, build a higher-standard new open economic system, and accelerate the construction of a new development pattern. We should actively create a first-rate business environment that is market-oriented, rule of law-based, and internationalized, and take promotion of accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement as an opportunity to further stimulate import potential, liberalize market access, and promote the in-depth development of multilateral and bilateral cooperation, thereby enhancing the country’s attractiveness to foreign investment. We should accelerate building China into a trading superpower by upgrading trade in goods, innovating in trade in services, and developing digital trade. Taking digitalization and greening as the direction, we should further enhance the international division of labor and move toward the middle and high end of the global value chain. At the same time, attention should be paid to safeguarding the country’s economic security.
Xi emphasized the need to develop excellent skills in managing high-standard opening up to the outside. We should conduct surveys and research, summarize and make good use of the successful experience of China’s opening up and development, strengthen strategic, systematic, and forward-looking planning for opening up, and accurately grasp the new situation and new problems in the field of international trade and economic cooperation, making sure that we have a clear picture in our mind and a good plan in our hands, and that our actions are effective. We will increase our ability to safeguard China’s development rights and interests by applying international rules, and accelerate the building of a high-standard, professional, and externally open workforce with solid politics, strong skills, and excellent work style. Integrating openness and security, we will safeguard security and promote rights and interests in the midst of struggle, seek cooperation, and fight for win-win outcomes.