China’s economic development depends as much on international diplomacy as it does on domestic investment and political reform. According to state-run news agency Xinhua, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said earlier this month that one of China’s top economic priorities for 2014 will be economic diplomacy, conducted with the goal of capitalizing on opportunities to grow both the domestic and global economy.
It’s hard to understate the increasingly important role that China plays in the global economy. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, or USTR, which recently filed a report to Congress on China’s compliance with World Trade Organization regulations, China is a $450 billion market for U.S. business. Economic reform aimed at rapid but stable and sustainable appeared to dominate the Third Plenum meeting of the Chinese Communist Party, and the country appears to be on the cusp whole-heartedly adopting the market mechanism.
There are, though, legacy problems that make China’s participation in the global economy complex and often difficult. As the USTR pointed out in its report to Congress, “the overall picture currently presented by China’s WTO membership has remained complex, largely due to the Chinese government’s interventionist policies and practices and the large role of state-owned enterprises in China’s economy.”