China calls on WTO members to extend regional trade to multilateral level

December 17, 2015 7:19 am 

NAIROBI, Dec. 16 — china calls on all World Trade Organization (WTO) member nations to extend their regional and "plurilateral" commitments to a multilateral level, Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Wednesday at WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi.

Gao indicated that large-scale agreements like the notorious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) ran counter to WTO's original aim of promoting global trade.

"china calls on all parties to extend regional commitments to the multilateral front," the minister said. "The biggest challenge facing the multilateral trade system at the moment is trade protectionism and [a] proliferation of regional trade agreements," he warned.

Both deals seek to create unprecedented free trade zones but exclude some key regional powers, such as China.

The minister maintained that only common development was sustainable. Regional trade agreements can promote inter-regional trade, but a proliferation of such accords could cause fragmentation and increase trade costs, he argued.

The 10th Ministerial Conference of WTO's 162 member states is underway in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, this week. On Wednesday, the ministers gathered for a plenary session where they are to deliver their statements. (PNA/Sputnik)



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