China must 'walk the talk' on trade: WTO

BEIJING: Beijing’s pledges to pursue trade liberalisation in the face of a potentially more protectionist US under Donald Trump meant it was time for China to “walk the talk” on the issue, former World Trade Organisation (WTO) director-general Pascal Lamy said on Friday.

Lamy, also a former EU commissioner who negotiated China’s entry into the WTO, said that despite a rise in anti-globalisation rhetoric, he expected the EU and China to remain key players in keeping international trade open. But, speaking in the Chinese capital, he added, “China has had a lot of talk of trade-opening and globalisation, and not much walk. “It is time for China to walk the talk,” he told a conference at Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies.

US President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to ditch the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) once taking office, and analysts say the move could give Beijing an opportunity to forge ahead with its own trade deals and fill a vacuum left by any American withdrawal. “Whether trade-opening is done multilaterally, bilaterally, regionally, east-west, north-south, that doesn’t matter,” said Lamy. What matters, he said, was that “obstacles to trade are reduced. You go the best option you have”.

A US withdrawal from the TPP would have limited impact on world trade, he insisted.

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