Twenty years of WTO accession, China and the world have a win-win situation

【Economy Interface】

On December 11, 2001, China formally joined the World Trade Organization.

These 20 years have been 20 years for China to deepen reforms and fully open up, 20 years for China to seize opportunities and meet challenges, and 20 years for China to take the initiative to shoulder its responsibilities and benefit the world.

Since joining the World Trade Organization, China has continued to expand and open up, which has activated the surging spring tide of China's development, and has also activated the spring water of the world economy.

In the 20-year history of joining the WTO, China has fulfilled its promises, abided by WTO rules, resolved challenges, seized opportunities, and achieved its own development while also benefiting the world.

1. "Excellent students" fulfilling their WTO commitments

Not only developed ourselves, but also benefited the world


China was appraised by Lamy, the former director-general of the World Trade Organization, as a "top student" in fulfilling its WTO commitments.

Over the past 20 years since China’s accession to the WTO, China has actively fulfilled its WTO commitments and significantly reduced tariffs and non-tariff barriers on commodity imports. China’s overall tariff level has been drastically reduced from 15.3% in 2001 to below 7.5%, which is far lower than most developing countries and close to developed countries. As early as 2010, the commitment to reduce tariffs on trade in goods was completed.

  Zhao Ge, Director of Tianjin Customs, has always been on the front line of the country for 20 years, and has witnessed and witnessed the great changes that have taken place in the past 20 years since China's accession to the WTO.

From a customs statistical analysis expert who keeps an eye on the "surging" import and export declaration data from various ports every day, to a leading position in many local customs offices, his work is closely connected with China's import and export trade.

Taking a detailed inventory of the past years, those things, and those pieces of work closely related to WTO entry, Zhao Ge heartily sighed: "Looking back 20 years, China has always been an important contributor and promoter of global economic and trade integration. "

  "From the early days of joining the WTO, we studied the caliber of international trade statistics and constantly adapted to the adjustment and changes of tariff rules, to the opening of ports across the country to promote the vigorous development of the country’s open economy; from the proficient use of WTO rules to integrate into the global economic and trade integration pattern, To promote a new round of WTO reforms; from efficiently responding to the impact of the epidemic to firmly maintaining the stability of the transnational industrial chain and supply chain, China Customs has always been at the forefront." Zhao Ge said.

  In Zhao Ge's eyes, in the past 20 years, China has transformed from a follower and imitator at the beginning of its accession to the WTO to a leader and innovator, and has gradually grown into an important force in maintaining the international multilateral economic and trade system.

Accession to the WTO has brought opportunities for development to China as well as opportunities for development to the world; China has benefited from the world, and the world has also benefited from China.

  In the past two decades, China has resolutely fulfilled its commitment to join the World Trade Organization and has made historic achievements that have attracted worldwide attention.

  From the perspective of China's economic development, China has become the world's second largest economy, with total economic volume and trade in goods rising from sixth to second and first in the world.

Taking processing trade as an example, China's processing trade has experienced a "roller coaster" type of growth and decline after entering the WTO. From the initial exponential growth, accounting for "half of the country's total import and export trade value," it has accounted for about 30% in recent years.

In contrast, the proportion of my country's general trade has increased from 40% at the beginning of China's accession to the WTO to 60% today.

"The data fully demonstrates my country's transition from labor-intensive processing trade to labor-technology equal emphasis, and demonstrates my country's transition from the initial integration to the endogenous development momentum." Zhao Ge analysis pointed out.

  From the perspective of its contribution to the world economy, since China’s entry into the WTO 20 years ago, China’s average annual contribution to global economic growth has been close to 30%, and it has always been the largest contributor to the multilateral trading system. It has not only changed the world economic and trade pattern, but also enhanced the stability of the world economy. Sex and safety.

Take the new form of cross-border e-commerce as an example. In the past five years, China has grown nearly 10 times in scale and occupies an indispensable and important position in the global e-commerce market. More and more Chinese manufacturers are relying on cross-border e-commerce. The online "Silk Road" allows people around the world to see the charm of Made in China.

The new form of cross-border e-commerce has not only become a new driving force for the development of international trade, but also a new engine for economic and trade cooperation with countries along the “Belt and Road”.

2. Expanding opening up spurs great changes in China's industry

From "dancing with wolves" to "going out" by strength


Twenty years ago, "dancing with wolves" was a lingering word around.

At that time, China did not have a well-known independent car brand.

The 20 years of China's accession to the WTO have also been 20 years of vigorous development of China's automobile industry.

The facts 20 years after China's accession to the WTO show that a higher level of openness has not become an obstacle to the development of domestic enterprises, but has made open industries more competitive and vital.

  In China, a private automobile company has accompanied the WTO accession, and it has also embarked on an upward path beyond imagination in 20 years.

On November 9, 2001, Geely obtained an automobile access license and became the first private enterprise in China to obtain the qualification for car production; on August 2, 2010, Geely Holding Group completed the acquisition of all shares in Volvo Cars, becoming China’s first multinational company. Automobile mergers and acquisitions; in 2020, Geely Group sold more than 2 million vehicles, ranking 243rd among the world's top 500 companies.

  Geely is a convincing model of the growth of Chinese enterprises after China's entry into the WTO.

China's accession to the WTO has given global companies the Chinese market and Chinese companies the global market.

  Entry into the WTO has brought rare opportunities for the development of China's auto industry, and entry into the WTO has also made China's auto industry face the "war of promotion."

Since 2002, my country's automobile import tariffs have been gradually reduced.

By 2010, China’s WTO’s tax reduction commitments were basically fulfilled, and the overall tariff level was further reduced to 9.8% from 15.3% before WTO accession.

Also in that year, China's auto production and sales reached 18 million, becoming the world's largest auto market. Almost all auto brands regarded China as a battleground for development.

  Starting in 2018, the tariffs on vehicles with tax rates of 25% and 20% have been reduced to 15%.

The reduction of tariffs has allowed more foreign brands to enter the Chinese market, and market competition has become more intense. At the same time, it has also encouraged the rise and development of domestic brands.

  Li Minglin, vice chairman of the China World Trade Organization Research Association, said that China's entry into the WTO is a milestone in China's deep participation in economic globalization, and it signifies that China's reform and opening up has entered a new historical stage.

  In 2001, China's annual output of cars was only 70,000.

In 2020, China's annual automobile production was 25.225 million, ranking first in the world for 10 consecutive years.

China already has strong automobile production and manufacturing capabilities, and its own brands continue to increase their share of the global market.

More importantly, since 2015, domestic brands have gradually run and lead the way on the new track with the trend of electrification, intelligence, networking, and sharing.

In the first 10 months of this year, Chinese auto companies exported 1.594 million vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 1.2 times.

Among them, the output of new energy vehicles reached 1.366 million, a record high.

  After joining WTO, the automobile industry actively utilizes foreign capital.

A series of measures to further open up China continue to advance. In 2018, restrictions on foreign ownership of special vehicles and new energy vehicles were lifted, and the auto industry ushered in a new stage of "opening up of shares".

From entering the Chinese market in 2012, and then to the start of production at the Shanghai Super Factory in 2019, Tesla, China's first wholly foreign-owned car company, has become increasingly inseparable from the Chinese market.

At the same time, Chinese companies with strong resilience have not only established a firm foothold in the domestic market, but have also taken the initiative to enter the world market, accelerating their own development and growth through foreign investment and global mergers and acquisitions.

  Consumers are the biggest beneficiaries of opening up.

The more open the auto market after China's accession to the WTO, the more competition will be, the more affordable the price, and the more diverse choices will be.

Domestic brands are catching up, improving steadily in quality, trying to get rid of the impression of "low price and low quality", and forcing the price of joint venture models to drop.

3. From "faster growth" to "better development"

Be an activist leading the globalization of the economy


Twenty years ago, China imported 11.56 billion yuan of goods per day, and now it only takes more than 3 hours to reach this target; 20 years ago, China consumed 480 million yuan in an hour, and now it only takes more than 6 minutes; 20 years ago, China 1 It only takes 7 seconds to create a GDP of 21 million yuan per minute...

  "Now in Yiwu Port, it only takes an average of 10 seconds for our container vehicles to pass through the checkpoint, and the inspection time for a single container is now as short as 5 minutes, which greatly improves the efficiency of our company's container operation. We currently export the annual volume of containers. Reached 10,000 TEUs." said Cheng Li, manager of Yiwu Kingston International Freight Forwarding Co., Ltd.

  This year is the 20th year since my country’s entry into the World Trade Organization. It is the 20th year that Yiwu's small commodity exports grew out of nothing and created miracles. From the “sporadic export” with less than 10 import and export containers under the supervision of Japan, to the “world supermarket” 20 years ago. year.

He Gangmiao, a customs officer who has worked in Yiwu Port Supervision Department for many years, proudly said that Yiwu, known as the world's largest small commodity wholesale market, has a three-dimensional opening-up pattern of "land, sea, air, iron and post" gradually taking shape.

  In the 20 years since its accession to the WTO, China’s average annual contribution to world economic growth has been close to 30%, and it has become a veritable "engine" and "locomotive" of world economic growth.

China attaches importance to the expansion of exports as well as the import of high-quality products and services. The successive China International Import Expo has enlarged the pie of the global market, strengthened the global sharing mechanism, and made the way for global cooperation alive.

  Feng Weijiang, deputy director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that in the 20 years since joining the World Trade Organization, the Chinese central government has cleaned up more than 2,300 laws and regulations, and local governments have cleaned up more than 190,000 laws and regulations, covering all aspects of trade and investment; Require regular notifications to the WTO on the revision and implementation of relevant domestic laws, regulations and specific measures; increase administrative enforcement, carry out patent "escort" actions in key illegal areas, and continue to build market-oriented, legalized, and internationalized operations. Business environment.

  China opens its arms and welcomes more high-quality international products to enter the domestic market, sharing the "Chinese dividend" with other countries in the world, and the average annual growth rate of goods imports exceeds double digits.

Adhering to openness and tolerance, China's "circle of friends" continues to expand.

Over the past 20 years, my country’s average annual contribution to global economic growth has been close to 30%, and it has become the largest trading partner of more than 50 countries and regions, and the top three trading partners of more than 120 countries and regions.

Statistics show that China's foreign direct investment will account for 20.2% of global investment flows in 2020.

The data also shows that starting from 2014, China's foreign direct investment flow began to exceed the flow of foreign investment in China, and the trend has not changed so far.

Regardless of the scale of foreign investment, regional distribution, or industry structure, China cannot do without the world, and the world cannot do without China.

  China has always been an activist supporting globalization. Over the past 20 years since its accession to the WTO, China has become a pivotal participant and contributor to the reform of the World Trade Organization and the reconstruction of international economic and trade rules, and an important force leading the development of economic globalization.

  Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy Representative for International Trade Negotiations, stated that since China joined the WTO in 2001, China has received 9 transitional reviews and 8 trade policy reviews, making it the member that has received the most reviews.

From October 20 to 22 this year, the eighth WTO review of China's trade policy was held in the form of video. Representatives of 65 WTO members delivered speeches at the meeting.

In summary, the evaluations of member states mainly focused on affirming China’s active participation in the work of the WTO, highly appraising China’s important role in international anti-epidemic cooperation, thanking China for granting tariff-free treatment to imports from least developed countries, and fully affirming China’s initiative to reduce Tariff reduction is on the negative list of foreign investment access, and positive comments on the “Belt and Road” initiative.

  On September 16 this year, China formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP); on November 1, China formally applied to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA); January 1, 2022, 15 countries The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) will come into effect and will drive nearly half of the world’s population and nearly one-third of trade volume. More than 90% of the goods in the region will eventually achieve zero tariffs and become the world’s largest free trade.” Circle of Friends"... China's actions to expand its opening up are still continuing.

(Reporter Zhang Yi)

Authoritative point of view

China is both a beneficiary and a contributor

  Former WTO Deputy Director-General Yi Xiaozhun: In the 20 years since China joined the WTO, China has not only been the biggest beneficiary of the multilateral trading system, but also the biggest contributor to the multilateral trading system.

In the past 20 years, the total world trade in goods has nearly doubled, and China’s exports of goods have increased by more than seven times.

But at the same time, China's total imports have also increased by nearly six times. In 2020, China's total imports have accounted for 12% of the world's total imports of goods trade.

Since China’s WTO accession, China’s development achievements have been exciting

  Sun Zhenyu, China’s first representative to the World Trade Organization and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary: Over the past 20 years since China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, China has responded to various doubts with concrete actions and brilliant results. China’s development achievements since its entry into the WTO are exciting.

To maintain the multilateral trading system with WTO as the core

  Zhao Ping, deputy dean and researcher of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Research Institute: Since joining the World Trade Organization, China has continued to expand and open up.

Currently, the multilateral trading system is facing many challenges.

It is necessary to maintain the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, promote global economic recovery, continuously improve global trade and investment rules, and better provide a strong institutional guarantee for globalization and a sound institutional framework for world trade.

(Zhang Yi finishing)