Chinese Dragon Happy

The apprehensions of the past did not come true

China celebrates the first year of its official membership in the World Trade Organization. The result of the country's activity in the WTO were summed up in advance, prior to the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China. The estimations are basically positive. They presumably touch upon the economic development of the country during 2002, China’s adjustment to WTO conditions, and the way it abode by its obligations. Here are some selective figures and facts on these positions.

The volume of investments in the capital assets of China gained 21.8% over three-quarters of the current year in comparison with the same period of the past year. Investments made up 2583.8 billion yuans (one hundred American dollars are equal to 827.73 Chinese yuans).

China’s foreign currency reserves will make up $280 billion dollars by the end of the current year. The total sum of population’s saving accounts and cash will exceed ten trillion yuans by the end of 2002.

Chinese Minister for Foreign Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation, Shi Guangsheng, stated that China was likely to take the first place in the world in terms of foreign investments. According to the results of the year 2002, foreign investments in China made up about $50 billion. Twenty seven thousand six hundred and thirty new enterprises were registered in China as of the end of October 2002. Those new enterprises were all founded on the base of a foreign capital.

Chinese exports made up $262.5 billion American dollars over the period of January-October of the current year. China’s export gained 20.6% vs. the same period of the year 2001. The number of private enterprises increased from 820 thousand in 1996 to 2.2 million in 2002.

According to China’s WTO membership obligations, foreign banks are entitled to conduct operations with the Chinese currency in major provinces of the country.

The Beijing advisory and research center for WTO affairs informed that the level of customs tariffs will be decreased in China by 20% by the end of the current year.

The legal system in the field of foreign economic activity has been almost finished in China. This system corresponds to WTO standards. It was officially stated that the State Council of China reconsidered over 2300 judicial documents during 2001-2002. Eight hundred and thirty documents abolished and 325 documents were corrected. The contents of those documents touched upon such fields as trade, commercial services, intellectual property, and investments.

China realizes its challenges as far as the membership in the World Trade Organization is concerned. They include the weakness of the bank and finance system (a lot of unreliable debts and loans), insufficient competitive ability of a lot of enterprises and even industrial branches, unemployment. Chinese officials believe that the powerful position of the foreign capital in China is something to be proud of. However, it is not ruled out that such a point of view might turn out to be totally wrong. Pursuant to official statistics, more than a half of the Chinese export in 2002 falls on foreign capital-based enterprises. This brings up a question: whose exports? Is it Chinese exports, or maybe Japanese, German, or American exports?

Anyway, China sighed with relief on the day of its first anniversary of the WTO membership: the apprehensions of the past did not come true. Not yet, at least.

Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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