Despite their own constant breach of international rules and ignorance of international obligations, some western countries often accuse China of being the rule breaker. The truth is that China always honors its commitments.
As the second-largest contributor to the United Nations (UN) regular budget and its peacekeeping budget, China has actively fulfilled its obligations, supporting the UN in playing the core role in international affairs and upholding multilateralism.
Facing tremendous economic and fiscal pressure from the COVID-19 epidemic, China has managed to complete its full payment to the UN regular budget for the year 2020, which amounts to $336 million. The country has also decided to provide additional financial support of $50 million to the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan of the UN and establish a third-phase South-South Cooperation Trust Fund with the Food and Agriculture Organization totaling $50 million.
China has also joined the global vaccine initiative known as COVAX, led by the World Health Organization, as it honors its commitment to turning COVID-19 vaccines into a global public good.
As a major contribution to the global response to climate change, China has also fulfilled international obligations on climate change and has been obeying multilateral environmental treaties, safeguarding the global progress in environmental protection.
China has made important contributions to adopting the Paris Agreement and has attained its 2020 climate action targets two years ahead of schedule. This year, it has expanded its commitments to the climate pack, aiming to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
The country has honored its commitment to eliminate absolute poverty 10 years ahead of the schedule set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Over the past 40-plus years of reform and opening up, more than 700 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty, contributing more than 70 percent of the global poverty reduction.
China's poverty alleviation effort has not only accelerated the world's poverty reduction process, but also offered help to the many developing countries that are engaged in the task. China assisted in the construction of 24 agricultural technology demonstration centers in Africa, benefiting more than 500,000 local people.
Some western countries have accused China of violating the WTO rules and insufficient intellectual property (IP) protection, citing these violations as reasons to launch unilateral trade measures against China. Such accusations were again not backed up by facts.
According to a white paper titled “China and the World Trade Organization” published by China's State Council Information Office in June 2018, China has comprehensively fulfilled its commitments to the WTO with regard to lowering tariffs on goods, opening up to trade in services, eliminating import quotas and other non-tariff measures.
The average tariff level was reduced from 15.3 percent in 2001 to 9.8 percent. Foreign trade by private companies, and foreign-invested enterprises accounted for 83.7 percent of the country’s total trade volume, up from 57.5 percent in 2001. China has gradually lowered the threshold for foreign investment to enter the services sectors.
In terms of IP protection, China has made great efforts in protecting IP, including the Foreign Investment Law, to create a fairer and more transparent business environment for foreign investors.
In 2019, the number of invention patent applications filed by foreign applicants reached 157,000, up 6 percent from the previous year. The total trade of China's intellectual property royalties in 2019 reached $41 billion, three times than in 2010. The export value of intellectual property royalties increased to $6.65 billion, up 19.6 percent year-on-year.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, China, as an advocate of an open world economy, has demonstrated courage and determination to further open up with concrete measures.
The country’s foreign investment law took effect on Jan. 1 2020 to better protect foreign investors' interests. In its steadfast opening-up moves, China once again shortened its negative list, naming sectors that are off-limits to foreign investors. Three new pilot free trade zones (FTZs) have been opened and one expanded as it seeks greater opening-up and high-quality development.
China also hosted a series of global trade events as scheduled, including the 2020 China International Fair For Trade in Services in Beijing, the third China International Import Expo in Shanghai, and the 17th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning. The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's biggest trade pact, by 15 Asia-Pacific countries represents another victory for multilateralism over unilateralism and free trade over protectionism.
These measures are in accordance with the basics of the WTO, namely, free and open trade, non-discrimination, tariff constraints and special and differential treatment, which have injected certainty into an uncertain global economic environment.
Major countries should act like major countries, as President Xi Jinping said at the annual General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, they should provide more global public goods, take up their due responsibilities and live up to people’s expectations.