China’s Entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
Another important contributor to China’s current emergence, as a significant contributor to its current position as a global economic and political force, is its entrance into the World Trade Organization (WTO). China’s efforts to transform its economy from a socialist to a free-market one have seen the lifting of the majority of its people out of poverty in quite a short space of time. The continuation of such reforms, according to the Asian Development Bank, has contributed to China’s rapid economic expansion, resulting in the near elimination of extreme poverty in the country. This would contribute to about 78 percent of people in the country living on less than US$1 a day (New Straits Times, 2004b, p. B9). According to the Economist (2013), China has pulled about 680 million people out of misery from 1981 to 2010 and reduced has reduced its rate of extreme poverty from 84 percent in 1980 to 10 percent in 2013. Furthermore, its efforts at being accepted in the global family of nations (WTO) and becoming a part of the global economy of nations has contributed to its ability to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to fuel the country’s growth. Thus, if China’s economy is to continue to grow, it needs to have access to markets and natural resources. One way China’s leadership knew they could do that was to join the WTO. Joining the WTO was therefore one of the last hurdles that China had to clear to realise this goal. But membership of the WTO goes beyond just access to markets and resources for China; psychologically, it has also meant that the country has arrived on the world economic stage as a “player,” so to speak.