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Wang Yi Talks About the Reform of the International Trade System: Three Principles Should Be Upheld

On September 13, 2018, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of France jointly met the press after their talks in Beijing.

A journalist asked about the Chinese side's view on the French side's commitments to safeguarding, remodeling multilateralism and promoting the reform of the international trade system.

Wang Yi expressed that France has always been an important force in maintaining multilateralism and safeguarding free trade. We highly appraise and appreciate the various kinds of efforts made by the French side to this end.

Wang Yi said that the current international trade system is faced with certain doubt and impact. The Chinese side's stance is clear. First, the rules and concepts of free trade should be maintained, and the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the core should be strengthened, in that it conforms to the overall and long-term interests of various countries in the world, as well as is the consensus of the overwhelming majority of countries. Meanwhile, we do not think that the existing system is perfect. The Chinese side supports necessary reform and improvement of the existing system, including the WTO, so as to make it fairer, more effective and more reasonable. During the discussion process of promoting the reform, the Chinese side believes that three principles should be upheld:

First, the core values and basic principles of the WTO should be upheld. We should take the support for free trade, the maintenance of multilateral trading system, and the fight against protectionism as the basic direction, and should go against neither the trend of the times nor the trend of the history.

Second, the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries should be upheld. The reform should aim at making various countries share the outcomes of global development in a fairer manner, rather than further widening the gap between the North and the South. The WTO should continue supporting developing countries in better integrating into the global value chain, and guaranteeing the due special and differential treatment of developing countries.

Third, the spirit of building consensus through consultation should be upheld. The reform of the WTO involves the immediate interests of various parties, and thus comprehensive and adequate coordination should be made and views of various parties should be solicited. In particular, the opinions of developing countries should be solicited and respected. We should seek no "small cliques", and decisions should not be made by one country alone.

Wang Yi stressed that the reform of the WTO is very complicated, and involves many aspects. It is hoped that various parties could keep patient to advance the reform step by step. The Chinese side is pleased to see the positive and constructive role played by the French side to this end, and is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the French side in this regard.

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