China’s self-declaration as a ‘developing country’ at WTO draws criticism from around the world
Despite its dramatic economic growth, infrastructure development and status as the world’s second-largest economy in the 21st century, China, the world’s largest consumer of energy and largest emitter of greenhouse gases, according to industry groups reflection, considers itself a “developing country”. On January 27, the PRC declared itself a developing economy in the latest Trade Policy Review, which members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required to to undergo at regular intervals. This has sparked widespread backlash against the 143rd member country of the WTO which competes with the United States.
China gets ‘special and differential treatment’ like Papua Guinea
The WTO does not have a proper definition of a developing nation, and China appears to be using this to its advantage, which has become a contentious issue with a number of countries now raising concerns with the WTO. WTO. In 2019, the South Korean government decided not to seek any special treatment as a developing country in future negotiations at the WTO, but emerging global superpower China, home to several of the world’s billionaires, is still classified in the “in development” category. This allows China to benefit from the “special and differential treatment” of the WTO, which entitles some of the countries in financial difficulty like Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe.
Despite criticism, Beijing calls its vague declaration and preferential treatment at the WTO a ‘basic right’, all because the WTO lacks a solid framework that can categorize nations as ‘developed’ or ‘developing’. “.
Think tanks say the criteria applied by international organizations to determine a country’s development have become increasingly difficult to apply to China. This is partly because the PRC has undergone rapid changes over the past few years, especially in its energy sectors. But Asia Society Policy Institute vice president Wendy Cutler and senior program manager Kevin Doyle said: “Maybe it’s time for an upgrade.”
According to the WTO, currently two-thirds of its 164 members – including China – have declared themselves developing countries and Beijing has used permits and differential treatment principles like some of these countries. This has fueled tensions, mainly with the United States, which opposed WTO fish subsidy negotiations last year and India has also questioned China’s assertion as it has a per capita income above $10,435, according to a Business Standard report. China, on the other hand, responds by saying that it is a developing country compared to “developed nations” without specifying who these “developed” nations are.
China’s ambassador to the WTO, Li Chenggang, said at an event last year that it is persistent poverty that puts Beijing in the category of developing countries. Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen are three of the ten largest stock exchanges in the world and China is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI). The United States and India have questioned China mutually, stressing that it is unfair for Beijing to claim exclusive preferential treatment for the poorest countries. India and the United States were joined by Brazil, Indonesia and European Union countries.
According to the WTO: “With the accession, more than half a billion Chinese have been lifted out of poverty in two decades and China is now the largest trading partner of 120 countries, including the United States”.