Ad Hoc Negotiations (as published by the People's Daily)

Discussions on the legality of trade were underpinned by questions of national sovereignty at the Chinese Trade Summit on Friday.

Discussions on the legality of trade were underpinned by questions of national sovereignty at the Chinese Trade Summit on Friday.

By Mark Scheffer
Staff Reporter for 人民日报 (People's Daily)

An Ad Hoc committee was formed during the 2017 Chinese Trade Summit to discuss alleged illegal logging in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Foreign dignitaries at the summit claimed that money from the Chinese government was directed to fund these operations although no specific Party officials have been incriminated yet.

In response to these allegations, foreign dignitaries requested that China allow international investigations into Party corruption. Gao Hucheng, Minister of Commerce, called this request “a breach of national sovereignty,” and “a sign of weakness for a developing nation.” Chinese investments at home and abroad were called into question by representatives from Iran, Nicaragua, and Egypt.

In an interview, the Foreign Minister of Iran said that she, “understood China’s refusal to undergo foreign investigation,” but suggested that there must be an internal investigation led by Chinese officials. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, repeatedly cited the Party’s extensive efforts to mitigate corruption within its own ranks.

President Xi began his widely successful anti-corruption campaign nearly five years ago. Since then, more than 100,000 officials have been indicted for corruption. International officials continually harangued the Minister of Commerce and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for not meeting other countries’ standards.

The President of the World Uyghur Conference proposed that a code of conduct should be passed by the representatives of the Ad Hoc committee. This code would promote “transparent economic trade” and “improved investment rules.” A decision regarding the code will be made in the coming days of the conference.

China has the largest export economy in the world and is a crucial economic ally of all delegations in attendance. President Xi invited these delegations to attend this year’s Chinese Trade Summit in order to establish optimistic future trade deals with other world powers. However, the focus of the committee has shifted more toward establishing a precedent of foreign involvement in Chinese affairs. The Minister of Commerce commented on this shift by saying, “China should not and would not be expected to unilaterally accept foreign influence.”