The elite grouping favours a new structure that would better represent today's world, says a top EU official The Group of Eight leading industrialised nations may soon ask China and several other countries to join a new body it plans to form, the European Union Trade Commissioner, Pascal Lamy, said yesterday. Speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Economic Ministers' Meeting, which concludes today in Dalian, Mr Lamy told the South China Morning Post that the planned group would allow developing nations to join the elite grouping. 'We would rather favour the creation of a new structure of what we call the Economic Security Council, which would be not an adjustment to the G8 [Group of Eight] but a revamping of the formula where the membership would be more balanced,' he said. 'China, of course, is an important player nowadays. So is India. Brazil is one. South Africa is one. We would rather see a [new membership] which is more in line with what we see today's world is more about, and not what it was in 1974, when the G8 was started.' Although the G8 has not formally begun the process of adding new members, Mr Lamy said member states were in favour of welcoming China into the fold. The group comprises the US, Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Italy and Russia. 'We believe [creating a new structure by inviting new members] is the right thing to do,' he said. 'We believe in the notion that it is good to have a periodic review of the economic situation.' Mr Lamy further acknowledged the mainland's growing importance as a trading power. He said he agreed with Minister of Commerce Lu Fuyuan's assertions on Tuesday that the World Trade Organisation must keep its 2001 promise of catering more to developing countries. The WTO will meet in Cancun, Mexico, in September to try to hammer out a consensus that is friendly to developing nations by giving them more market access to wealthy countries. However, many observers - including top Chinese officials - are worried that it may be difficult for the group to reach a consensus. In recent months, industrialised nations have become more in favour of trade protectionism as many face slow growth or deflationary pressures at home. Mr Lamy said the EU and its more than 20 member states were not retreating from their promise of helping poorer countries. 'We in the EU have been putting forward developing-nation-friendly proposals,' he said. 'The proof is in the pudding. In each of our proposals for Cancun, developing countries are the priority.' Though Mr Lamy acknowledged China's rising role as a global trade partner, he criticised the mainland for not keeping all its promises made as part of its WTO accession agreement. 'Our view is that China is making big efforts but there are areas where we have concerns,' he said. 'Some market openings that stem from the accession have more or less been replaced by other barriers. In telecom, auto-distribution and in the construction sectors, in particular, we want to make sure that the agreements are implemented.' The EU begins its second annual review of China's accession performance later this year.