Caixin
Sep 10, 2022 10:45 AM
WEEKEND LONG READ

Weekend Long Read: How China Can Chart a Path Forward in International Trade

A cargo ship carrying containers leaves the Yangshan Port in Shanghai in 2019. Photo: VCG
A cargo ship carrying containers leaves the Yangshan Port in Shanghai in 2019. Photo: VCG

China’s economy has become deeply integrated with the world’s economy. Since accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China has logged average annual growth of over 11% in foreign trade, and accumulated trade surpluses worth over $5 trillion. The year 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of China’s accession to the WTO. It’s also in 2021 that China’s total exports’ share of the world’s total reached a record high.

China’s Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng signs the protocol on China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Doha, Qatar, in 2001. Photo: VCG 

But global trade has taken a hit in recent years, arising from frequent trade conflicts between countries. This has exposed various systemic defects and inefficiencies under the WTO, resulting in a growing number of countries setting up regional trade partnerships, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, coupled with a series of international trade disputes and sanctions, is further challenging the global order.

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