France, China working on issues related to WTO reform: ambassador

By Chen Qingqing and Chu Daye Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/17 22:08:40

Photo: French Ambassador to China Jean-Maurice Ripert speaks at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT

France and China are conducting high-level communication and exchanges on issues surrounding the reform of the WTO, said French Ambassador to China Jean-Maurice Ripert on Thursday.

France and the EU are conducting serious communication and exchanges with China, he said during a press conference held in Beijing on Thursday. 

"France and the EU all believe that multilateralism is very important for global trade," he told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Trade disputes should be discussed and settled within the multilateral frameworks of the WTO and G20, he noted. "While we understand the concerns raised by the US [amid the escalating trade war], we disagree with its way of addressing the issue."

Voices for reforming the WTO have risen in recent years and US President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw the US from the organization in August 2018, claiming it treated his country unfairly. 

China also makes active participation in WTO reform a priority for 2019, according to a statement by the Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday.

"One of the problems now with WTO reform is to see a jeopardized trade dispute mechanism, mainly because of the US, get back to normal, and China and the EU are on the same side on this," he said.

On the other hand, the EU also believes reinforcement is needed to boost the standards and enforcement of the WTO, he said. 

Tian Guangqiang, assistant research fellow with the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that reasonable reforms within the current framework of the WTO are the common pursuit of the EU, France and China.

"However, the US has undermined the status of the WTO, and the multilateral organization faces a tough task to improve its decision-making process and execution power, and reform measures will need to reflect the changed international trade landscape and balance interests of all its members," Tian said on Thursday.

The French ambassador said in 2019 China and France will further intensify cooperation in traditional areas such as nuclear energy, aeronautics and aerospace, agriculture and food. 

The two countries could also explore cooperation opportunities in emerging sectors such as innovative technologies and space exploration, he said.


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