China trade official sees shake-up of WTO developing country rules

The World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters are pictured in Geneva, Switzerland, July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Trade Organization should bring in a new system to determine which countries are classed as “developing”, based on the size but also the structure of the economy, a senior official from China’s Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday.

Currently WTO members can decide whether or not they are developing, entitling them to special treatment, which critics of the global body, including U.S. President Donald Trump, say undermines the rigor of the international trade system.

Zhang Jianping, director of the ministry’s research center for regional economic cooperation, told a seminar at the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration in Geneva that the WTO was outdated. Among the reforms should be new rules on investment, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, he said.

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Toby Chopra