Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In order to push forward the post-WTO work, and promote fair trade and WTO affairs, under the support the Program of Trading Policies and Public Participation initiated by the British government, the Guangdong WTO Affairs Consultation Service Center, today, our department has invited the representatives from the municipal departments concerning fair trade and WTO affairs and officials from relevant provincial departments to attend the Training Course for Fair Trade and WTO Affairs. I'd like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Ministry of Commerce, the provincial government, the British Embassy in China and the British Consulate in Guangzhou, as well as the experts from both China and the UK. I would also like to welcome the delegates from the departments under direct leadership of the provincial government, the municipal departments of foreign trade and economic cooperation and departments of WTO affairs in Guangdong province.
In the past four years since China's accession to the WTO, China honors its commitments by further opening to the outside world. China's foreign trade has been growing dramatically ever since, making it the third largest country in terms of trade volume. Meanwhile, China's competitiveness is also strengthening. Guangdong seized the opportunities and realized fast growth of foreign trade and economy, while its economic security endured the test of opening up, and its industries have been improved through competition. In 2005, the import and export volume of Guangdong totaled $427.98 billion, increasing by 19.8%. Its realized foreign investment amounted to $12.3 billion, with an increase of 23.5%. However, the foreign trade in Guangdong hasn't completed the transformation from following a growth model of low-added value. Processing trade with the features of low technical content and high labor intensity still takes up a great share in the industry. Furthermore, we lack innovation capacity and the exporting volume of domestic brands is fairly low. Thus, price-oriented competition dominates the trade. Trading efficiency cannot keep pace with the trade scale. This trade growth model with quantity increase as its feature can not be sustainable when we consider the limited domestic resources. And it cannot last for long against the international trading environment. On one hand, Guangdong is facing increasing pressure from the resources and the environment. Costs of land and labor force keep growing, the gap between the demand and supply of energy and resources is widening. The advantages of low-cost production are fading. On the other hand, the rapid growth of China's foreign trade changed the original structure of global trade, resulting in an increasing number of trading frictions against China. In order to realize the goal of strengthening Guangdong through economic development, we must be guided by the scientific concept of development, attach importance to the post-WTO work, accelerate the transition of foreign trade growth mode, and integrate ourselves into the global economy as soon as possible.
Recently, Guangdong is confronted by an increasing number of trade disputes involving larger amount of capital, broader fields of industry and more countries than ever. Up to now, the exported goods from our province have been involved in 89 disputes with 15 countries. Such products as shoes and color TV sets are the major types of goods involved. The US, taking its large trade deficit to China as an excuse, is imposing pressure on the RMB exchange rate. It is planning to impose 20% of tariff on all the imported goods from China. Protectionism is prevailing in some south EU countries. Anti-dumping measures are likely to be adopted to obstacle the exporting of furniture and porcelain products from China. And thus, technical measures to trade are emerging. The US and EU lodged a complaint to the WTO against the Chinese policy of importing automobile components. Some Third World countries also complain that China's products have muscled in their overseas market. India, Mexico, Turkey and many other countries are launching anti-dumping cases against China. Guangdong province attaches great importance to the disputes and in particular, the enterprises involved. We take corresponding measures in line with the WTO regulations and principles, and adopt proactive measures to deal with the problem. We take response to all suits from developed countries and more and more suits from developing countries. Some major anti-dumping cases involving products such as windscreens, furniture and shrimps have been properly resolved. The relevant governmental departments in Guangdong closely cooperated with each other and successfully solved the issue of the first anti-subsiding investigation carried out by Canada. By cooperating with the MOCOM, we launched negotiation with relevant foreign parties on the issue of unjustified protectionist practice. Meanwhile, we encourage the cooperation between Hong Kong and Macao in dealing with trade disputes, regulate the market order, and introduce and promote Guangdong's market economic system to the outside world. Our efforts have made promising results, and guaranteed the industry security.
This year, we further reduced the tariff on more than 100 imported goods, including vegetable oil, industrial raw materials, automobiles and automobile components. Through this deduction, China has basically completed tariff deduction obligations according to its WTO commitments. The service industry will also further open to the outside world according to our commitments. And by that time, China's opening up is upgraded to a higher level. China also participated into the Doha round of WTO negotiation as a developing country. Opening up to the outside world is one of the principle policies of China. Guangdong actively implemented the strategies of internationalization and economic globalization, and further expanded the regional economic and trade cooperation toward a win-win situation. We have also implemented the three stages of opening up measures of CEPA, and promoted the cooperation between Hong Kong and Macao and that of the Pan Pearl River Delta. We put into practice the Agreement on the Goods Trade in the China-Asian Free Trade Area, participated actively in the service trade negotiation, kept close attention to and followed up the FTA negotiation with Australia, India and other countries, so as to seize the opportunities of trade liberalization.
While China and its trading partners have built closer relationship, and China's trade policy has increasing influence to other WTO members, the members haves attached greater importance to China's trade policy. This year, China has, for the first time, gone through the WTO trade policy review and participated in the policy review of the trade policies of the US and other major trading partners. Guangdong province actively cooperated with the central government to report the local trading regulations and launch trading barrier investigations. During the review of the US trading policy, Guangdong reported its investigation results in goods trade, IPR, anti-dumping, supervision and quarantine, etc. Not long ago, the General Office of the State council issued the Notice on Further Implementing the Transparency Clause of the Protocol of the WTO. It points out that the openness and transparency of trading policies is the commitment that China made to the accession to the WTO. It is also the requirements of openness and transparency of administration, transformation of the government's functions and the improvement of the market economy and economic development. The MOCOM and the provincial government required us to complete the work in line with the national commitment fulfillment and the promotion of administration openness and transparency. We are also required to strengthen the awareness to the work, and establish and optimize relevant mechanism. Our department and Guangdong WTO Affairs Consultation Center will try our best to fulfill the task, and we are looking forward to the support from relevant departments and the municipal government in Guangdong.
Dear friends, it is strategic and comprehensive work to deal with relevant issues after the accession to WTO. A coordinated quick response mechanism is necessary according to the experience of Guangdong. The MOCOM initiated to establish a working mechanism with the coordination of the central government, local government, the intermediaries and the enterprises. Governments at all levels in the province and the intermediaries should continue to play important roles in it. The Guangdong WTO Affairs Consultation Center and the British Foreign Office initiated the Program of Public Participation in China's Trade Policy. Since when it was launched in September last year, a series of activities have been conducted. It thus included the relevant provincial departments, economic and trading departments, WTO agencies, major industrial associations and the major enterprises into the network, improving the capacity of the relevant departments in the participation of the trading policies, WTO negotiations, and the settlement of trading disputes. Just now, I talked with the British consul about the program and we are satisfied with the results. This year's training course aims to analyze the situation and tasks we are facing in fair trade and WTO affairs after China's accession to the WTO, improve the policy consultation process, optimize government's management of public participation in trading policies, and guide enterprises and intermediaries to play their due role in the process. It also aims to, through extending stakeholders' participation and improving transparency of policies, establish a functioning mechanism, and contribute to the building of a harmonious society and a harmonious world.
I sincerely hope our delegates can take this opportunity to learn from our experts, enhance your understanding toward trading policies, improve your competence and put what is learned here into practice. In conclusion, I'd like to, once again, on behalf of GDDOFTEC, express my heart-felt thanks to all the distinguished guests and delegates! Thank you!
(Full text of the remarks by Huang Yongzhi, Deputy Director-General of Guangdong DOFTEC at the "Training on Public Participation in Trade Policy" on July 18, 2006, as transcribed)