"This event has been dedicated to the Eurasian perspective on the future of the multilateral trading system." DG Azevêdo said. "And it is notable that a significant number of the WTO's recent accessions have come precisely from this region. For acceding members, the process of WTO accession has usually accompanied structural transformation of the domestic economy, and a reshaping of trading relationships regionally and globally.
"By acceding to the WTO, governments are sending a message that they are committed to the core values of openness, transparency, good governance, and the rule of law," he added "A number of Eurasian economies still remain outside the Organization. So it's important that we continue our collective efforts and fully integrate the region into the global economy, including through accession to the WTO," DG Azevêdo's full speech is available here.
Held under the theme of “Eurasian Perspectives on the Future of the Multilateral Trading System: Accessions and the Evolution of WTO Rules”, the Seventh China Round Table provided a platform for an exchange of views on the future of trade and the WTO through the perspective of WTO accessions and their systemic contributions. The Round Table was opened on 26 September by WTO Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff, Ambassador Zhanar Aitzhanova of Kazakhstan and Ambassador Zhang Xiangchen of China. The opening ceremony was attended by over 90 participants, including representatives from 26 WTO members and observers, and 6 international organizations. Astana will host the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in June 2020.
Recalling the importance of Eurasia in the global economy, DDG Wolff highlighted the WTO's role in the region: “Over the last 20 years, this vast landscape has seen greater connectivity through the emergence of better transportation infrastructure, logistics hubs and industrial zones. New trading networks have opened up, and new trade agreements have been signed. The WTO has an important role to play in this transformation."
"In fact, in many cases the accession process itself, which typically requires structural reforms across many areas of the economy, has been a key part of the story. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in 1991, international trade played a powerful role in transforming the economies of the newly independent states and in deepening their relationships with the rest of the world.” His full speech is available here.
In her welcoming remarks, Kazakhstan's Permanent Representative to the WTO, Ambassador Zhanar Aitzhanova shared her country's accession experience and reflected on the positive impact of WTO membership: “WTO member countries have recognized Kazakhstan as a country with a predictable and favourable investment climate that conducts trade policies in accordance with the international law."
"Today Kazakhstan develops trade relations with 185 countries of the world, and more than 90% of our trade is done with WTO member countries," she continued. "Over the past 10 years, foreign direct investment in the amount of more than US$ 200 billion has been attracted to the country's economy. All of this demonstrates that Kazakhstan is deeply integrated into the world trade and economic system and became its integral part.". Her full speech is available here.
China's Permanent Representative to the WTO, Ambassador Zhang Xiangchen, focused on the key role of capacity building and called upon WTO members, the WTO Secretariat and acceding least developed countries (LDCs) to enhance capacity building on accessions: “the capacity constraint, or the capacity gap between developing countries – including LDCs, and developed countries, is the fundamental aspect for the accession to the WTO of developing countries – especially LDCs, their further integration into the multilateral trading system, and ultimately the development issue within the Organization. […] We hope [China's] efforts will facilitate and accelerate the process of LDCs’ accession, and further help them to complete the transition from accession negotiations to fulfilling the rights and obligations as WTO members as soon as possible." His full speech is available here.
At the closing session, Ambassador Aitzhanova of Kazakhstan presented a Report on the Outcome of the Seventh China Round Table.
The programme for the Seventh China Round Table is available here.