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Mutual benefit, mutual need in trade

Jesus Seade / China Daily Share:

CHINA’S relations with the World Trade Organization (WTO) are at the centre of the global trading system, just as trade has been central to China’s striking economic performance over the past four decades

With one of the world’s most ancient and richest cultures, modern China’s trade-centred economic transformation has been spectacular: perhaps the clearest example of how trade can boost innovation while lifting millions out of poverty

China’s economic advancement and dynamism have in turn underpinned the growth of the rest of the world, contributing more than one-fourth of global economic growth in recent years


China’s place in the global trading stem shows how win-win economic growth is possible and, of course, desirable

But this virtuous circle requires a well-functioning international trading system

It is not a coincidence that China’s successful economic reforms of the last four decades were closely associated with the country joining the WTO, accepting its rules and its dispute resolution system, and the mutual confidence this has entailed

Prior to its WTO membership, China faced and was met with greater uncertainty as it opened up to the world

History has shown that its strategy toward international cooperation and its adhesion to the WTO were the right choices

But the WTO is in a state of crisis, with scant negotiation results since its creation and with an inoperative appellate body

Now the pandemic has dramatically damaged supply chains worldwide, generating threats to repatriate them on a longer-term basis and creating the illusion that protectionism is the answer

China and the US are immersed in complicated disagreements that catalyse uncertainty on a global scale

China is a global powerhouse of trade and innovation that translates into greater geopolitical influence

Intertwined as they are, politics should not hinder trade

Rather, political will should encourage it toward mutual benefit

This is the time for China to invest political capital in ensuring that the world of trade comes out of its crisis, and out of the pandemic, stronger and not diminished

Only through positive and courageous negotiations to reach agreements can the WTO regain its place at the center of global trade, for the benefit of all

The author is the former Mexico’s chief negotiator of the WTO Agreements and of theUS-Mexico- Canada Agreement

He contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily

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