首页 > >
Foreign envoys to WTO laud China's contribution to multilateral trading system******
GENEVA, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Multiple countries praised China's trading policy and its active role in supporting a multilateral trading system on Wednesday as the World Trade Organization (WTO) started the eighth trade policy review of China in Geneva, Switzerland.
Russia commends China for its important leadership role in the WTO. "We highly appreciate and share Beijing's continuous support for multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO," the Russian delegation to WTO said in a statement.
Russia strongly supports China's efforts in combatting protectionism and emerging forms of discrimination, especially in the form of unilateral measures, the statement added.
The Saudi delegation said that China plays a leading role in the rules-based multilateral trading system and regional trade agreements (RTAs) to continue its development and growth.
China is a politically and economically significant player in global trade, said the Philippine delegation, adding that despite the COVID-19-induced economic slowdown, the Chinese economy continues to be a major driver of global growth.
The delegation of Vietnam to the WTO acknowledged China's active contribution to the WTO and the world trade through its active and consistent participation in various ongoing processes in the organization, including the discussions of WTO reform, negotiations on fisheries subsidies, among others.
Not only has China's development strategy benefitted Chinese people, but its open and unique approach of pursuing "shared prosperity" and "trade for peace" through regional connectivity has opened new channels for trade and investment, the Pakistani delegation said in a statement.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of China's accession to the WTO.
Over the past two decades, China has fully fulfilled its accession commitments, actively participated in the work of the WTO, and made great contributions to upholding the multilateral trading system, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday. Enditem
Interview: German ping pong icon Boll says "always curious to play" Chinese paddlers******
NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Matchups against Chinese paddlers were not only fun but also "helping me so much to improve myself," and "I was always curious to play them," said German table tennis evergreen Timo Boll.。
"I always wanted to play them. I was never shy to play them," the former world No. 1 told Xinhua in a recent interview, adding "(it) doesn't matter if I win or lose, afterward I'm always a better player when I meet them."
"I wouldn't have become such a good player without the Chinese," said the German veteran, who was also active as a guest player in the Chinese Super League.。
The eight-time European men's singles winner said every generation of the Chinese table tennis circle has very outstanding players.。
"If I play Chinese players, I have to be prepared from the first ball because you have to read the game inside the game," he said.。
"You have to be very sharp and you cannot afford easy mistakes and you have to be really on the point in that game," said Boll, who has taken on different generations of top Chinese paddlers, including Liu Guoliang, Kong Linghui, Wang Liqin, Ma Lin, Zhang Jike, Ma Long and Fan Zhendong.。
"The more often you play them, you feel immediately that you (get improved)," said the world's No. 10, adding "it's nice to follow the whole table tennis history of China and to be a small part of it."
The six-time Olympic contender said the biggest strength of Chinese table tennis lies in its unique system, which helps to find the talents and train them at younger ages.。
To spot the young talents and to bring them to good cultures, where they can grow up, where they go to school and practice a lot with good coaches, "this is unique in China," and "that's we have to learn, but it's not easy," Boll said.。
Germany is well-structured in clubs where a lot of amateur players can play each other, but it lacks a good structure for professional table tennis like China, he noted.。
Commenting on his performance at the recently concluded 2021 Houston World Table Tennis Championships, he said it was unfortunate as he failed to take a chance at the semifinal, but still "it's a nice story" to win his first singles medal at the worlds in a decade at the age of 40.。
The German said he came to Houston "without very high expectations," as he was still a little bit struggling with his physical condition after the Olympics and wasn't sure if he could play really on a high level.。
Boll said he won't be retiring any time soon, though he could feel the age every day.。
"It's all about fun playing ... I won't find anything else which can fulfill myself so much like table tennis, it's also hard to stop. I have to admit," he said.。
The veteran, who repeatedly voiced his love for practicing and the routine of a sportsman, added that respect from the other players and fans also encourages him to keep going.。
Looking ahead, Boll said he would concentrate on his club, try to compete in big tournaments and play them on a high level.。
"I will try to play, especially the Asian tournaments where I can compete against the best players like the Chinese players," he said, adding he hopes to lead his compatriots to compete in the 2022 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Chengdu.。
"Hopefully I can come back to China soon," he said. Enditem。
Australia to reopen its borders to tourists******
Australia will reopen its borders to tourists from February 21, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Monday, ending some of the world's strictest and longest-running pandemic travel restrictions.
"It's almost two years since we took the decision to close the borders to Australia," Morrison said after a meeting of the national security Cabinet.
He announced the borders will reopen to all visa holders "on the 21st of February of this year," adding, "if you're double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back to Australia."
Australia's borders slammed shut in March 2020 in the hope of protecting the island continent against a surging global pandemic.
For most of the time since then, Australians have been barred from leaving and only a handful of visitors have been granted exemptions to enter.
The rules have stranded nationals overseas, split families, hammered the country's multi-billion-dollar tourist industry, and prompted often bitter debates about Australia's status as a modern, open and outward-looking nation.
Every month of border closures has cost businesses an estimated US$2.6 billion, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In recent months, rules have been gradually relaxed for Australians, long-term residents and students.
The latest decision will see almost all remaining caps lifted.
It comes after the country's long-standing "COVID-zero" policy was abandoned, vaccination rates rose and the once stellar track-and-trace system collapsed under a wave of Omicron cases.
Only a handful of countries remain closed to tourists – among them Japan, China, New Zealand and several Pacific Island nations.
For Australia's travel and tourism sector – which struggled as visitor numbers fell almost 98 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels – the news brought elation.
"We're very excited about being able to reopen," said Tony Walker, managing director of the Quicksilver Group, which operates cruises, diving and resorts across the Great Barrier Reef.
"The last couple of years have been incredibly difficult for us," he told AFP, urging people overseas to "come visit".
During the pandemic the firm went from 650 employees down to the 300 it has today.
Walker said he expected "it will take some time to recover" from the past two years.
Many tourism operators around Australia are experiencing staff shortages, given how few backpackers and working holidaymakers are coming to Australia.
Despite the announcement, travel within Australia will still be restricted.
The vast state of Western Australia remains closed to most non-residents. It is currently easier to travel from Sydney to Paris than Sydney to Perth.