GENEVA, Mar 18 (AFP): China should do more to liberalise its services industry, crack down on piracy and adopt a more flexible exchange rate policy, according to a World Trade Organisation report published yesterday.
In its first review of Beijing's trade policy since China joined the global body at the end of 2001, the WTO said economic openness had enabled the Asian giant to increase its per capita Gross Domestic Product nine-fold since 1978 and reduce by one third the number of people living on less than one dollar a day.
"There is no reason to believe that the goal of doubling GDP per capita by 2010 cannot be achieved," it said.
The report said reforms were given added steam when China joined the WTO, whose trading nation members, currently 149, set the rules of global commerce and have their policies periodically put in the spotlight.
"Notwithstanding these remarkable achievements, a number of challenges remain," said the report, which is due to be published officially in April.
It pointed to income inequalities between urban and rural China and between coastal and inland regions.
It said that continued restructuring of the economy, especially of farming and state enterprises, was expected to result in the need to create over 100 million jobs over the next decade.
"This may require a reappraisal of current policy of giving priority to attracting investment in export-oriented, capital- intensive manufacturing, with a view to placing greater emphasis on removing impediments to the expansion of the services sector, which tends to be less capital-intensive," said the report.
Chinese authorities also facing the challenge of raising the quality of the labour force, the WTO review said.
The report said that when China joined the WTO it had taken on commitments to free up the services sector that were "relatively extensive" for a developing nation.