(Yicai Global) Feb. 5 -- China named Assistant Minister of Commerce Li Chenggang as its permanent representative, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the World Trade Organization yesterday.
54-year-old Li, who trained in law at Beijing’s prestigious Peking University and Germany’s Hamburg University, will also be deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland.
Li, who has spent his whole career at the Ministry of Commerce, made his debut as the head of China’s mission to the WTO at the online Ministerial Conference, the organization’s topmost decision-making body that meets every two years, convened on Jan. 29. Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao also attended along with 27 other top officials from member countries.
Li will have his work cut out for him as Geneva-based WTO is facing a number of major challenges due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has badly affected the global economic and trade environment. Huge differences between member states have also led to the obstruction of multilateral trade negotiations and have brought the dispute settlement system to a standstill.
"The WTO is going through the roughest times since its formation,” Li said in his first speech as China’s WTO head that is published on the China’s Permanent Mission to WTO website.
“China firmly upholds the multilateral rules-based trading regime and is willing to strengthen multilateral cooperation to oppose unilateralism and protectionism, promote all necessary reforms to enable the WTO to advance with the times and to play a greater role in global economic governance, especially responses to once-in-a-century changes and the Covid-19 pandemic," Li said.
“This year marks the 20th anniversary of China joining the WTO. The country’s economy and society has developed rapidly, its socialist market economy has improved and its market scale has increased. The nation’s development has also created opportunities for the whole world.
“China is now a major trading partner to over 120 countries and has been the globe’s largest importer and the most important export destination for the world’s least developed countries for 12 straight years.
“China is an important WTO member country, participates in all WTO activities, faithfully fulfills its WTO commitments and constantly promotes high-level trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. From an abider of WTO’s regulations, it has grown into an important rule-making participant.”
Editors: Chen Juan, Kim Taylor