On December 4, 2018, Nigerian newspaper Peoples Daily published an article written by Ambassador of China to Nigeria Dr. Zhou Pingjian. The full text goes as follows:
China Supports Reform of WTO
The rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core, is now challenged by unilateralism and trade protectionism.
Three factors threaten the WTO. One, the dispute settlement regime is at risk of paralysis by obstruction from certain members and as the vacancy of its Appellate Body members cannot be filled. Second, certain members raising tariffs by abusing the security exception clause. Third, some members taking unilateral approaches in disregard of the WTO’s multilateral rules.
The world today is undergoing major development, transformation and change. While economic globalization surges forward, global growth is shadowed by protectionism and unilateralism which have become stumbling blocks preventing the relevant WTO mechanisms from performing their roles.
China supports necessary reform of the WTO, in order to strengthen its authority and efficacy, to build an open economy, and pursue a community with a shared future for mankind. To this end, the Chinese government published the “China’s Position Paper on WTO Reform” on November 23.
According to the position paper, the WTO reform should follow three fundamental principles, namely, to preserve the organization’s core values including non-discrimination and openness, to safeguard development interests of developing members and address their difficulties in integrating into economic globalization, and, to follow the practice of decision-making by consensus.
The position paper also put forward five suggestions.
Firstly, the WTO reform should uphold the primacy of the multilateral trading system. Secondly, the priority of the reform is to address the existential crisis/problems faced by the WTO. Thirdly, the reform should address the imbalance of trade rules and respond to the latest developments of our time. Fourthly, the reform should safeguard the special and differential treatment for developing members. Last but not least, the reform should respect the development model of each member.
The WTO reform has a bearing on the vital interests and development space of developing countries. China’s position paper fully reflects China’s constructive manner as the largest developing country and a major responsible country. Africa is the continent with most developing countries and Nigeria is the largest developing country in Africa. It is in our mutual interest to speak with one voice and jointly guide the development of the WTO reform process in the right direction. China is willing to work together with Nigeria and Africa to uphold the multilateral trading system and oppose acts of unilateralism in a bid to support common development.