Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chinese official named deputy head of WTO

Chinese official named deputy head of WTO

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Zhang Xiangchen has been tapped as WTO deputy director-general. SUPPLIED

Chinese official named deputy head of WTO

Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Zhang Xiangchen has been appointed as a deputy director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a move that government officials and experts believe is a recognition of the East Asian country’s role in the WTO and its contribution to the multilateral trading system.

They also said WTO members, in the face of rising unilateralism and protectionism, should strengthen communication to achieve consensus step-by-step to advance necessary reform of the organisation, in order to safeguard the multilateral trading system and promote the building of an open world economy.

WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala appointed Zhang as one of four deputy directors-general on May 4. The three others are Angela Ellard of the US, Anabel Gonzalez of Costa Rica and Jean-Marie Paugam of France.

The four deputy directors-general will work with the director-general to advance the interests of the organisation, including preparations for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, which will be held at the end of this year in Geneva, according to Xinhua News Agency.

"It is a recognition of the positive and constructive role China has been playing in the WTO over the years," said a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce on May 4.

China will continue to strengthen its cooperative relationship with the WTO Secretariat and support the work of the director-general and the WTO Secretariat, contributing to the safeguarding of the multilateral trading system and improvement of global economic governance, the spokesperson said in an online statement.

As a major trading nation, China has long been a constructive member of the WTO, faithfully fulfilling its commitments and making great contributions, such as providing capital and technological aid to developing countries and helping to train officials of new WTO members, said Tu Xinquan, a professor of international trade and dean of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

Huo Jianguo, vice-chairman of the Beijing-based China Society for World Trade Organisation Studies, said Zhang's appointment is not a surprise, considering that China is an active participant in, strong supporter of, and major contributor to the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core.

"China firmly observes and upholds WTO rules, supports the multilateral trading system and has contributed its efforts to represent the interests of developing countries in pursuing a new rules-based, fair and open international trade order that is not dominated by a few developed countries," he said.

Both of the experts said the appointment of the four deputy directors-general from different regions also reflects the efforts of the WTO to balance the voices of its member countries, although their positions require them to put the interests of the WTO ahead of their home countries' interests.

They also believe the new leadership of the WTO will better coordinate communication of developing and developed countries from different regions.

"Strengthened communication and cooperation is necessary to achieve consensus, especially as the WTO's authority and efficacy are facing severe challenges from rising unilateralist and protectionist practices," Huo said.

"We hope the WTO will represent the interests of all member countries. It should better protect the interests of developing members on the basis of fair and just principles."

China has adopted higher-level opening-up practices and supports necessary reforms of the WTO to explore a new set of rules on international trade and investment, he said.

However, the reforms should safeguard the development interests of developing members, and all WTO members, especially developing nations, should be able to implement the new rules, he added.



  • Tensions high ahead of historic Kun Khmer match up

    The long-awaited November 5 matchup between Kun Khmer legend Prum Samnang and Myanmar-Canadian boxer Dave Leduc has become the most anticipated fight of the year. The Wurkz Sena Kun Khmer promotion, which will be held at the Town Arena at Chip Mong 271 Megamall, will see six

  • Manet: Cambodia safe for travel

    Prime Minister Hun Manet acknowledged that Cambodia and China have cooperated to tackle internet scamming, fraud and other cross border crimes, but insisted that the “Kingdom of Wonders” is completely peaceful and safe. He welcomed tourists to come and explore its rich heritage. During a

  • UNESCO formally list Battambang gastronomy

    Battambang, renowned for its cultural heritage, has achieved a significant milestone as the first Cambodian municipality to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). The UCCN unites nearly 300 cities prioritising creativity and cultural industries in local development plans and international cooperation. On World Cities Day,

  • Cambodia pivots to solar, wind energy

    Cambodia is planning a move towards solar and wind energy to meet its rising power demands, according to Minister of Mines and Energy Keo Rottanak. On the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week event held recently, Rottanak emphasised the urgency of diversifying Cambodia’s

  • Angkor causeway symbol of Cambodia-Japan ties

    In a historic moment marking another milestone in the 70-year-long diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan, King Norodom Sihamoni celebrated the formal inauguration of a causeway located to the west of the world-renowned Angkor Wat. While presiding over the November 4 ceremony, the King emphasised the

  • Manet calls for Cambodia’s railways to get back on track

    Prime Minister Hun Manet has instructed the relevant authorities to expedite studies into upgrades to the Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk railway line. He suggested that the maximum speed on the line should be increased to 80km/h, in order to expedite the transportation of