Geneva. Chinese Ambassador to Geneva LI Chenggang has said that China attaches great importance to the development needs of Least Developed Countries(LDCs).
Speaking with a group of journalists from LDCs on the sidelines of the 12th Ministerial Level meeting of the World Trade Organization, the Chinese diplomat said, “In this regard, President XI Jinping proposed building community with shared future for mankind, in which case China will increase assistance to other developing countries, especially the LDCs, and do its part to narrow the north-south development gap.”
During the interactions, the Chinese envoy elaborated in detail about the support and concessions provided by China to least developed countries. He also said that China has supported the proposal made by LDCs concerning their graduation.
President Xi further proposed the Global Development Initiative, the Chinese Ambassador said, which calls for paying attention to the special needs of developing countries and supporting them, especially those vulnerable countries, through debt suspension and development assistance.
He further added that as a good true friend of the LDCs, China is actively strengthening economic and trade cooperation with the LDCs within the multilateral and bilateral frameworks.
Among them, China is continuously providing assistance to other developing countries, especially to LDCs, within its capacity. There are many examples, just to name a few, he added.
“First, China has fully implemented Decisions of all WTO Ministerial Conference on providing duty-free and quota-free treatment to the LDCs,” he said.
Insofar, China has been providing duty-free treatment to 98% of tariff items from 42 LDCs which have diplomatic relations with China, covering almost all products those countries exported to China. China is one of those developing countries that rendered duty-free treatment to the LDCs at the earliest time.
Second, China continuously expands its imports from the LDCs, the Ambassador said. Since 2008, the LDCs’ exports to China have accounted for a quarter of their total exports, making China the largest market for the LDCs consecutively for many years. The continuous expansion of China's import market, it will bring more opportunities to the LDCs’ enterprises and create more jobs for the LDCs.
Third, over the past 20 years, China spared no efforts in helping developing members, particularly the LDCs to integrate into the multilateral trading system, he added.
The LDCs and Accessions programme, established by China in 2011, has received a donation of USD 400,000 and USD 4.8 million in total so far from China. This programme has helped six LDCs accede to the WTO and has funded LDC officials to attend WTO meetings on 31 occasions.
Since 2017, China has strengthened its cooperation with the WTO under the "South-South Cooperation" Fund. China launched the "Aid for Trade" cooperation programme and helped other developing members benefit from the global value chains.
He further said, “We have been also listening attentively to the needs of LDCs facing graduation challenges and provided a three-year transition period for those who have already graduated. The duty-free treatment also applies to the graduated LDCs in the transitional period.
In the past two years, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the LDCs have increasingly faced more challenges and their accession process has been slowed down, he said. This is definitely not conducive to the LDCs benefiting from global trade.
The Chinese envoy said that China, as always, is willing to continue to help the LDCs integrate into and benefit from economic globalization. You are messengers and bridges of friendship between China and the LDCs, and will certainly play a positive role in this regard.