KAZAN, Russia, Jun 6 – China appreciates that concerning parties have shown the political will to support least-developed countries to join the Doha Round talks, and expects relevant negotiations to be completed by this summer, a senior Chinese trade official said Tuesday.
Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming made the remarks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade held in the central Russian city of Kazan on June 4-5.
He said China agrees to recognize trade facilitation as one of the early results of the Doha Round negotiations, but it’s not the only result. Development issues, especially the development of the least-developed members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), should also be cared, he emphasized.
He added negotiations on trade facilitation should heed the needs of developing and least-developed members on technical assistance, capacity building and their performance capacity.
Chen stressed new topics for the negotiations should facilitate realization of the Doha Round goals, strengthen the multilateral trading system and consolidate the unity of WTO members. They should not undermine the negotiations, he said.
The long-stalled Doha Round of world trade talks, which began in November 2001, was supposed to open up new markets in agriculture, manufacturing and services as well as make other reforms to help the world’s poorest countries prosper through trade.
Chen said China supports the studies and discussions by the WTO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the global value chain aimed at reforming the current trade statistics.
China also supports the WTO’s supervision on trade measures and its role in curbing protectionism, he added.
The minister warned the current multilateral trading system is facing difficulties. He urged cautions against any moves that may lead to the derailing of the Doha Round.
On regional economic integration, Chen said regional economic cooperation and the establishment of free trade zones should be carried out on an open, comprehensive and transparent basis.
Regional trade arrangements are a good complement to the multilateral trading system, but not a replacement, he said.
Referring to the next-generation trade and investment issues, Chen called on the economies to cooperate on the APEC platform in the fields that they have already touched upon and have common wills in.
When discussing new issues, the economies should attach great importance to the exchange of experience and capacity building to make sure they benefit developing economies, he said.
At the same time, they should also continue to make efforts to realize APEC’s Bogor Goals, which call for investment liberalization and facilitation, he added.
With regard to the liberalization of trade in environmental goods and services (EGS), Chen stressed China supports the EGS trade liberalization in principle.
However, considering the economic differences among the APEC members and the particularity and complexity of the EGS, Chen suggested four points on EGS trade liberalization.
First, the economies should first discuss and set the standards for the liberalization and aim to reach consensus by the end of 2012.
Second they should avoid broadening the definition of the EGS.
Third, the economies should adhere to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
Fourth, the liberalization should embody the principle of voluntarism.
Beijing expects APEC members to take into account their different development levels and conduct adequate consultations, so as to achieve a “triple-win” of environment, development and trade, Chen said.
Beijing also hopes the economies could reach consensus on a list of items of the EGS and file it to the APEC summit in 2013, he added.