Nov 14

China Watch Blog has learnt that between China’s accession to the WTO and September this year, Guangzhou’s cumulative utilized foreign capital exceeded US$50 billion, and 217 Fortune 500 companies had invested in Guangzhou, the third largest number in mainland China after Shanghai and Beijing.

On November 2, at a press conference held at the municipal government information center, officials from the Guangzhou Bureau of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation reviewed the growth of Guangzhou’s development-style economy since China joined the WTO ten years ago and commented on the outlook of the economy, reported.

The bureau’s director, Xiao Zhenyu, stated that Guangzhou has made significant strides in attracting foreign investments since China’s accession to the WTO a decade ago. Xiao said that some people argue that Guangzhou has lagged farther behind the leader in foreign capital inflows, while the followers are quickly catching up.

He attributed this to the different methods used by the cities in computing foreign capital inflows, and stated that Guangzhou will intensify its efforts to lure foreign capital.

“Guangzhou accounts for 1/26 of China’s foreign capital inflows and 1/28 of the nation’s total imports and exports,” said Xiao. Since China joined the WTO ten years ago, Guangzhou’s foreign trade has increased by US$ 10 billion a year, surging from US$ 23.03 billion in 2001 to US$ 103.8 billion in 2010, averaging an annual growth of 18.2%.

In the first three quarters of the year, Guangzhou’s total imports and exports climbed 11.9% year-on-year to US$ 85.67 billion, and the figure for the whole year is expected to top US$ 110 billion.

The latest statistics released by the Guangzhou Bureau of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation show that the value of deals closed in the first and second phases of the Canton Fair rose 3.3% over the previous edition and 11.0% over the 108th edition to US$ 33.177 billion. The Guangzhou delegation secured deals valued at US$ 1.252 billion, an increase of 5.49% over the previous session and 12.98% over the 108th edition.

“Guangzhou has become a key node in the global investment network of multinational companies,” said Mr. Xiao. Since China’s accession to the WTO, Guangzhou’s investment environment has been further enhanced, and its appeal to Fortune 500 companies and the corporate headquarters of foreign invested enterprise has steadily risen. So far, 217 Fortune 500 companies have launched 563 projects in Guangzhou, involving a total investment of US$ 23.03 billion.

Xiao also indicated that his bureau will team up with the Guangzhou State-owned Assets Administration and Supervision Committee to foster one or two world-class enterprises on a par with Haier and Huawei. He said that the strongest candidates are the GAC Group and Yuexiu Group.

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Oct 01

China Watch Blog has learnt that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has issued a report of the panel on Wednesday, supporting China over its complaint against measures taken by the United States which have affected imports of poultry from China.

The panel ruled that Section 727, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, applied by the U.S. had effectively prohibited the lifting of the ban on poultry imports from China, and inconsistent with the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement).

The panel concluded that the United States trade regime has not acting in accord with the specified provisions of the SPS Agreement and the GATT 1994, and has “nullified or impaired benefits accruing to China under those agreements.”

In 2004, China and the United States stopped importing poultry products from each other for fear of the bird flu. China had called off the ban on poultry import from the United States when the situation was relieved.

Access of Chinese poultry to the U.S. market is still blocked, because of the application of Section 727 passed by the U.S. congress, which restricted the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its agency, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) from using funds allocated by the U.S. Congress to create a rule to lift the poultry ban on China.

At the request of China, a panel was established by the WTO on 23 September 2009 to investigate the case.

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Jul 26

Yes, the headline is correct. China Watch Blog has picked up news that China will further reduce tariffs for agricultural products and industrial goods by around 30%.

A People’s Daily report reports that  according to some agreement already reached in the field of services trade, China has opened more than 100 of the 160 categories of the services sectors, and has promised to open 11 more.

Shanghai Securities News has reported Chen Deming, China’s Minister of Commerce,  who attended a meeting in Beijing on July 21 with visiting WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy on the Doha round of trade talks, as iterating  China’s firm support for the Doha round negotiation.

“To push forward negotiations, WTO members should seize the opportunity of the 2011 Doha round of talks, optimize the negotiation results and seek breakthroughs based on concrete proposals,” he said.

Lamy said the Doha round started nearly 9 years ago, and it will impact WTO’s credibility if the agreements cannot be reached in 2011. Therefore, every member is expected to make joint efforts, push negotiations to make substantive progress and send positive signals through the G20 Seoul Summit to win more political supports for the Doha round of talks.

Since its entry into the WTO in December 2001, China has seized opportunities and actively participated in the multilateral trading regime. For the past nine years, China has abided by WTO rules, lived up to the extensive commitments it has made and made comprehensive adjustment to its trade regime and trade policy, which has won admiration and approval of WTO members and the international community.

As of 2010, China has implemented all commitments it made upon entry into the WTO, established an economic and trade regime consistent with prevailing international rules and become one of the most open markets in the world.

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Jul 18

China Watch Blog has spotted this China Daily News which quoted senior World Trade Organization (WTO) experts on Friday welcoming China’s improved offer to join the WTO government procurement agreement (GPA). They said it was a significant step that would improve the nation’s global image.

Criticizing the tactics adopted by countries like the United States to pressure China, the experts said the GPA member nations themselves are unable to ensure fair and equal treatment for foreign nations.

Deputy US trade representative Demetrios Marantis had earlier said in Washington that China has submitted a new offer to join the WTO agreement on government procurement. He said the revised offer includes significant improvements and was better than the earlier proposal submitted by China in 2007.

WTO experts from China have also welcomed the revised offer. Although details about the new offer are still unclear, “the revised offer indicates that China is more positive and flexible on the GPA issue”, said Tong Zhiguang, former vice-minister of commerce and chief WTO negotiator.

The Ministry of Commerce declined to elaborate on the new proposal and said it was still under negotiation.

“Given that China is one of the leading exporters and trading nations in the world, the relaxation of curbs on government procurement will not hurt the nation too much,” Tong said.

Marantis said the new proposal is a “solid step toward ensuring China’s huge government procurement market is open to US companies”. US officials estimate the size of the government procurement market in China at around $500 billion.

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