WTO faces complaints over China's 'developing' status

Industry News | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Some nations have argued that China should no longer be classed as a developing country.

Several countries have complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about China's ongoing status as a developing nation that came with its original membership deal.

The Asian nation recently celebrated 20 years since its accession, during which time it has enjoyed significant improvement in terms of its economy and trading power.

Indeed, according to official WTO data, it is now the world's largest trading nation and the second-largest measured at market exchange rates.

However, at the most recent WTO trade policy review, countries including India, the US, Australia and the EU said the governing body's failure to reclassify China as an 'upper middle-income nation' means it is claiming benefits that should be reserved for countries that are truly struggling.

Under WTO legislation, developing economies are able to access special and differential treatment that lead to better trading opportunities, but the petitioners insist China no longer requires such assistance.

They argue that the WTO could introduce a graduation system to prevent this, and that China should reclassify itself in the meantime.

The WTO has faced numerous calls for reform in recent years, so having a properly-defined system of parameters to decide which nations are developed and which are not may need to be first on its list of changes if further conflict is to be avoided.