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Friday, July 8, 2016, 09:34

WTO chief hails China's role in trade talks

By Xinhua

WTO chief hails China's role in trade talks
World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo attends a press briefing on 2016 global trade forecast on April 7, 2016 at the WTO headquarters in Geneva. (FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)
GENEVA - World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo on Wednesday highlighted the increasingly important role played by China in multilateral trade consultations since it became a WTO member in December 2001.

"China has always been a very strong supporter of multilateralism and of the WTO and has been very constructive in negotiations," Azevedo told Xinhua in an interview here.

Admitting that "China's weight in negotiations today is not the same as it was 15 years ago," he noted that "the system has to be thankful for a lot of what China has done."

As well as underscoring Beijing's ability to defend its interests while showing awareness of the systemic implications of its position, the Brazilian official also praised China's role in helping members ink important trade covenants such as the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

Known as the Bali package, the TFA lays out directives to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods so as to reduce the overall cost of trading.

It is the first multilateral agreement to be reached since the organization came into being over 20 years ago.

In the same vein, Azevedo lauded China's stance at the 2015 10th WTO ministerial conference in Nairobi, where ministers played a pivotal part in attempting to push negotiations in the right direction.

Commenting on the anti-dumping measures the European Union is mulling on steel imports recently, Azevedo said, "members are entitled to use anti-dumping measures, but you cannot arbitrarily impose anti-dumping measures."

According to the director-general, a number of factors must be taken into account before such actions can take place.

First it is necessary to determine whether dumping exists then decide if there has been injury to domestic interests, Azevedo said, adding that the third requirement is to establish whether there is a link between the two.

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