A number of World Trade Organization (WTO) envoys on Wednesday praised China's successive years of economic growth, while also expecting Beijing to take a leadership role at the WTO.
The WTO envoys made the remarks during breaks of China's seventh trade policy review. Led by Wang Shouwen, China's vice minister of commerce and deputy China international trade representative, a team of 30 officials from 14 Chinese government agencies, as well as the head of the Chinese mission to the WTO, Ambassador Zhang Xiangchen, participated in the first session.
Pakistan's WTO Ambassador Syed Tauqir Shah said his country sees China's role as "critical" as it is "one the greatest forces supporting the multilateral trade system."
He said Pakistan appreciates China's efforts to open up its economy by lowering its tariffs "voluntarily" and by implementing the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement.
European Union (EU) WTO Ambassador Marc Vanheukelen pointed out that he had said the EU saluted the strong growth of China's economy as "miraculous" and the fact it has lifted itself from being "a fairly poor country" to a "middle-income economy."
Given that China is now one of the biggest trading partners and the second biggest economy in the world, "we expect leadership from China ... in terms of broad strategy, but also in terms of the concrete negotiations for new rules that are necessary," said Vanheukelen.
The EU envoy said the WTO is clearly "not in a good shape" because some countries have taken "unilateral actions that are putting a lot of pressure on the WTO" and changes to the organizations' rules have not been able to take place over decades.