China said it stands ready to work with World Trade Organization (WTO) members and guide the process of globalization towards a more open direction benefiting all parties.
Commerce Minister Zhong Shan reiterated these basic standpoints at the meeting on the third day of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The nation has been a strong supporter of globalization and multilateral trade. Zhong also asked WTO members to have trust in the system, to work together, and to drop stereotypes.
"A multilateral trade system is the key to prosperity. The WTO rules have been protecting trade globalization, and will continue to do so," Zhong said.
Zhong's speech was well received by WTO officials. Alan Wolff, Deputy Director General of WTO, said he would like to see China take a leading role in the organization, along with the EU and Japan and other major countries.
"The country has the capacity to engage deeply in the negotiating process," said Wolff.
China also established and has been the driving force behind the China Program at the WTO – a round table discussion that invites less-developed countries – to help them enter the multilateral trading system.
Meanwhile, the US claims that the WTO is losing its focus on trade negotiations, and is going too easy on wealthier developing countries such as China.
Nigeria's Chief Trade Representative Chiedu Osakwe said the China Program serves as more than technical assistance. "The round table process has now become a high quality policy instrument for addressing issues in the trading system," said Osakwe.
Chinese officials believe that when less-developed countries have access to the multilateral trading system, they will eventually be able to integrate with global values and achieve sustainable growth.
However, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer alleged that some WTO members are using lawsuits in an effort to gain attention that they could never get at the negotiating table. He also said that too many countries have been given unfair exemptions as developing countries.
The 11th WTO Ministerial Conference is happening from December 10 to 13.