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Seminar furthers study of global trade governance system

ZHANG WEI | 2020-01-16
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)
The seminar held on Dec. 31, 2019 Photo: ZHANG WEI/CSST 


A seminar on the governance system of global trade was held in Beijing recently. Scholars gathered for an in-depth exploration of relevant hot issues. 
Speaking of China’s rejoining of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and its accession to the WTO, Zhang Zhigang, former vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), said that the two developments have boosted China’s economy in an unprecedented way. It only took China about 10 years to jump from being the sixth to the second largest economy in the world. 
Long Yongtu, chief negotiator of China’s WTO accession and former vice minister of the former Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of the PRC, said that one of the most important reasons China has achieved so much since its accession to the WTO is the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee. Knowledge of the WTO was thoroughly studied and communicated within the Party and throughout the country, which drove forward the reform and opening up of the country. 
Long added that we should unswervingly learn from older generations of experts and scholars. We should bear in mind the contributions made by older generations to China’s reform and opening up, and we should work harder based on what they have achieved. 
China’s accession to the WTO has also helped the country’s institutionalization. Ge Zhirong, former vice minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China pointed out that the accession not only advanced China’s economy but also helped law-enforcement departments adjust to international rules. 
Jiang Qingzhe, Party chief of the University of International Business and Economics, said that the current landscape of the global economy and global trade has changed greatly. As uncertainties increase, people are growing anxious about the future of economic globalization as well as the rules of the global economy and global trade. The reform of the WTO has become a hot issue. 
The international trade system is under severe attack. In this context, scholars from all over the world should join hands to discuss the future of the global economy, said Shi Guangsheng, former Minister of the former Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of the PRC. 
“The ‘going global’ of Chinese companies is an essential part of the high-quality development of China’s economy. It also helps build the Belt and Road initiative. Only when our companies develop in the right way can we find the right direction to open up further to the world and ensure that we have our say in the reform of globalization,” said Li Chaosheng, a former commissioner of the Special Commissioner’s Office of the Ministry of Commerce in Kunming. 
Li said that a platform should be built to offer consultation services for different industries and for the country. The platform should be able to help companies make full use of the current policy incentives, outbound investment and collaborative management. Meanwhile, we should enhance the training of talented and versatile people and help them study international trade policy, thus making Chinese enterprises more competitive in the international arena. 
Wang Xinkui, president of Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center, said that China’s accession to the WTO was not accomplished overnight. In fact, China had begun its relevant study and research as early as the 1980s. Academia played an essential role in this process. Currently, the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, and the challenges that we face are more severe than before. Therefore, academia should begin to play a larger part in the government’s policy-making process. 
Chong Quan, chairman of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, said that the younger generation of scholars should stay alert to potential risks, and they should pick the brains of older generations by studying relevant papers carefully. Young scholars should try to come up with strategies and suggestions that go along with the current rules of economic development. 
edited by WENG RONG