China commended the dispute settlement mechanism of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for its important role in safeguarding the rights and interests of WTO members and maintaining international trade order, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.
Spokesperson Gao Feng made the remarks after the European Union (EU) had agreed to grant more low-tariff quotas to Chinese poultry meat, including the quotas for 5,000 tonnes of chicken meat and 6,600 tonnes of duck meat.
The new tariff quotas were expected to be implemented in the first quarter of 2019.
China filed a complaint to the WTO against the EU over high poultry tariffs in April 2015, putting forth a consultation request and formally starting WTO dispute settlement procedures.
In April 2017, the WTO ruled that EU's poultry tariff quota management had violated its rules.
To implement the ruling, China and the EU had conducted several rounds of negotiations on granting Chinese poultry meat more low-tariff quotas and signed an agreement on Nov. 30 in Geneva.
"China welcomed the agreement and appreciated the cooperative attitudes of the EU in negotiations," said Gao.
He said the case was a significant step actively taken by China to safeguard the interests of domestic industries through the WTO dispute settlement mechanism as well as a successful example for China and other WTO members to tackle trade disputes under the WTO framework.
At a time when protectionism is on the rise and damaging the multilateral trading system, both sides have set up a typical example in using consultations to solve trade disputes, achieve win-win results and maintain the authority of the rule-based multilateral trading system, said Yang Guohua, a professor with the Law School at Tsinghua University.
Pu Lingchen, a lawyer and partner of Zhong Lun Law Firm, said China's method and attitude in tackling the poultry tariff dispute reflected the country's resolute support of the WTO rules and dispute settlement mechanism.
It is estimated that the new quota will increase Chinese poultry products subject to low tariffs to more than 10,000 tonnes from current around 100 tonnes.
To meet the export requirements of the EU, China's poultry industry has invested a total of 2.8 billion yuan (about 407 million U.S. dollars) to renovate farms and upgrade processing equipment. Nearly 50,000 Chinese work in the poultry meat production industry.
Yu Lu, vice president of the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce, said the agreement would create a fairer trade environment for Chinese firms specialized in poultry exports, boost China's poultry export and enrich the poultry meat supply of the EU at more favorable prices.