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Give China its due; stop the protectionism

By Hu Tianlong | China Daily Europe | Updated: 2016-12-16 07:14

China welcomed the 15th anniversary of its entry into the World Trade Organization on Dec 11. In accordance with Article 15 of the accession protocol signed in 2001, the surrogate country approach for calculating so-called dumping tariffs expired on Dec 11, 2016.

China should have received market economy status to better protect its companies and workers from the harm of anti-dumping regulations in other markets, such as the United States and the European Union.

Give China its due; stop the protectionism

But those major economies, joined by Japan, have failed to abide by the rules. This will not only have a negative impact on global trade but will also worsen the global financial situation and the anti-globalization trends in some parts of the world.

After joining the WTO, China has been improving its market system and level of marketization. It has also contributed a lot to the sustainable growth of the global economy. At present, it is working on further perfecting its market economy system and to shoulder more responsibility for global economic development. So it is unwise and unreasonable for the above-mentioned economies to continue to employ the tool of the surrogate approach for setting tariffs, which is based on conditions in third countries.

One one hand, China has always actively participated and integrated with the world trade system, and has consistently improved its market system and marketization level during exchanges with other economies. Through many global and regional cooperation mechanisms, such as APEC, G20 and AIIB, China has advocated win-win and inclusive development concepts, and it is shouldering more responsibility in the world.

Give China its due; stop the protectionism

On the other hand, China has always worked on building a market economy system to higher standards to provide a more diversified development path for world economic development. Through new economic concepts such as the Belt and Road Initiative, China has been working to push globalization.

It is important to clarify that there is no perfect market system in any country or region. The so-called "full market economy country" is also a concept with blurry standards. But whether in state-owned companies' reform or in building and improving multilayered capital market, China has always been open and responsive to its imperfections and keeps making progress - which I think is the essence of a market economy.

Undoubtedly, as an important player in the global market economy, China has proved that it is worthy of market economy status. And it has been patient, as it has waited for what was written in Article 15 to be carried out properly. It concerns not only China's development, but also the world's prosperity.

For other members of the WTO, respecting Article 15 and giving up the surrogate approach is not only their legal duty but also a reasonable judgment and a smart choice. For the European Union, which is now facing crises such as Brexit and other problems, it would be unwise of them to adopt protectionism.

The author is an associate professor of law and a research fellow at Renmin University of China's International Monetary Institute. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 12/16/2016 page7)

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