19 and 21 April 2006


Economic reform has produced impressive results but important challenges remain

China's gradual economic reforms have opened the economy to international trade and investment and have made it one of the fastest growing in the world, with a nearly nine-fold increase in GDP per capita since 1978, according to a WTO Secretariat report on the trade policies and practices of China.

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Ongoing trade and structural reforms, given added impetus by China's membership of the WTO since 2001, have made it the world's third largest trader and one of the largest FDI recipients. These reforms have also reduced the proportion of China's population living in poverty from 73% in 1990 to 32% in 2003. At the same time, however, income disparity has increased, especially between the coastal and inland regions and between urban and rural areas. Trade and investment barriers have declined considerably, in part due to WTO commitments. Nevertheless, the report notes that the Government continues to intervene to “manage” trade, including for domestic supply considerations.

Continued structural reform will increase unemployment in certain sectors and over 100 million jobs will need to be created over the next decade. The report suggests it may be necessary to reappraise the current policy to attract investment to export-oriented capital intensive manufacturing and to place greater emphasis on removing impediments to the expansion of the services sector. The Government also needs to accelerate its efforts to raise the quality of the labour force in order to move away from traditional low-skilled, labour-intensive industries into higher value-added production. Other challenges include bottlenecks in infrastructure as well as the continued need to restructure the financial sector and capital markets by making them more market oriented.

The WTO report, along with a policy statement by the Government, will be the basis for the Trade Policy Review (TPR) by the Trade Policy Review Body of the WTO.

The following documents are available in MS Word format.


Note  back to top

Trade Policy Reviews are an exercise, mandated in the WTO agreements, in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored. For each review, two documents are prepared: a policy statement by the government of the member under review, and a detailed report written independently by the WTO Secretariat. These two documents are then discussed by the WTO’s full membership in the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB). These documents and the proceedings of the TPRB’s meetings are published shortly afterwards.

Print copies of previous TPR publications are available for sale from the WTO Secretariat, Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de Lausanne, 1211 Genève 21 and through the on-line bookshop.

The TPR publications are also available from our co-publisher Bernan Press, 4611-F Assembly Drive, Lanham, MD 20706-4391, United States.


Schedule of forthcoming reviews  back to top

United Arab Emirates: 24 and 26 April 2006
Uruguay: 17 and 19 May 2006
Iceland: 7 and 9 June 2006