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China Plays as Global Growth Driver amid COVID-19 Pandemic: WTO Economist

Source:Xinhua Published:2021-10-01 16:35

"During the pandemic, the goods trade has bounced back very fast. Countries like China have supplied the world with important goods, medical equipment and so forth to maintain consumption during the pandemic," said Coleman Nee, a WTO senior economist.

GENEVA, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- A senior economist at the World Trade Organization (WTO) has told Xinhua that the country has been a growth driver for the world during the COVID-19 crisis, as the global trade watchdog's figures have confirmed the recovery of global trade after the deep shock.

The Geneva-based WTO said in August its global Goods Trade Barometer had hit a record high of 110.4 points, the highest since the indicator was first released in July 2016 and up by more than 20 points year-on-year.

"During the pandemic, the goods trade has bounced back very fast. Countries like China have supplied the world with important goods, medical equipment and so forth to maintain consumption during the pandemic," said Coleman Nee, a WTO senior economist, ahead of China's National Day holiday.

Besides typical goods, China supplied more than 320 billion masks, 3.9 billion protective suits and 5.6 billion nucleic acid testing kits globally, according to Beijing's official figures.

In its March forecast, the WTO said it expected the world merchandise trade volume to increase by eight percent in 2021 after dropping 5.3 percent in 2020. Trade growth would likely slow to four percent in 2022, with the total volume of global trade remaining below the pre-pandemic levels, it said.

However, Nee said that the outlook on services trade remained uncertain. "Services trade has been hit hard, and essentially has not recovered because of the travel restrictions and a number of other things that make it difficult to deliver services face to face."

Nee said that multilateralism was paramount in the runup to the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), which will take place between Nov. 30 and Dec. 3 in Geneva.

"It's important that countries cooperate in all areas of trade and especially on vaccine rollout to guarantee access to poor countries," he stressed.

MC12 was originally scheduled for June 2020 in Kazakhstan, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Nee, "China ... has combated COVID-19 effectively, along with other countries. Promoting equitable access to vaccines is something that China and other nations can do to help the global economy get over the pandemic."

China has committed to making COVID-19 vaccines a global public good and promoting vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.

China has provided more than 1.25 billion vaccine doses to more than 100 countries and international organizations and medical supplies to more than 150 countries and 14 international organizations, official figures showed.

In addition to donating 100 million U.S. dollars to the global COVID-19 vaccine program COVAX, China has pledged to donate 100 million additional vaccine doses to other developing countries this year.

"That's probably the biggest single thing that countries can do to put this whole episode behind us," said Nee.

Editor:Zhao Hanqing