Ten years ago, when China officially became the 143rd member of the World Trade Organization, wolf crying was pervasive.
The one conspicuous fact, acknowledged by leaders of the world’s major trade establishments and re-iterated by President Hu Jintao yesterday at the forum commemorating the 10th anniversary of the country’s WTO membership, is that China committed far more for its admittance than other emerging economies. This was hardly mentioned at home then.
And it was not clear at the time whether China’s industries, which were believed to be weak and inadequately prepared, would be able to survive the immediate head-to-head encounters with overseas competitors.
But instead of the vulnerable victim some pessimistically anticipated, China has benefited tremendously from its integration with the rest of the world. It is now the world’s second largest economy, the largest exporter and second largest importer.
While Chinese exports are to be found in retail outlets across the world, this has never been a one-sided game in China’s favor.
According to the International Monetary Fund, China has imported $750 billion worth of commodities on average every year in the past 10 years, equivalent to creating more than 14 million jobs for its trading partners. And the scale of imports is expected to surpass $8 trillion in the next five years … that is good news not just for Chinese companies, but also other WTO members.
China Today, Beijing (Dec. 15)
Good trade news
A free-trade agreement signed by President Barack Obama in October and by his counterpart in South Korea late last month is already paying off in Kentucky.
Toyota has announced it will begin exporting Camrys made in Georgetown to South Korea in January.
The automaker initially plans to ship about 6,000 Camrys a year from Kentucky to South Korea.
The free trade agreement, which had been held up for years, came at an opportune time for Toyota. …
The agreement lowers South Korean tariffs on U.S.-made autos from 8 percent to 4 percent and will eventually eliminate them, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission. The lower tariffs will help offset the additional cost of shipping cars from Kentucky.
The trade agreement is expected to increase U.S. exports of cars and auto parts to South Korea by 54 percent — good news in Kentucky, which produces more vehicles than all but two states.
Toyota has already started exporting Sienna minivans made in Indiana to South Korea.
Other Kentucky industries, especially bourbon and agriculture, are eager to dip their toes in South Korea now that barriers to U.S. goods have been lowered.
Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader (Dec. 14)