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EU, China Hold Talks in Brussels for China's WTO Entry
2004/03/09
The European Union (EU) and China held talks in Brussels Tuesday for the final stage of China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Chinese Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Shi Guangsheng and EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy started their scheduled one-day talks Tuesday morning, but they did not finish the meeting late at night and were expected to continue Wednesday.

Lamy has pledged earlier this month to help China in its long- running bid to join the WTO, saying he would be ready to do his bit to clear the remaining obstacles between the two sides to an accession deal.

"We will move swiftly to renew talks with the Chinese side to resolve our remaining differences in order to pave the way for China's accession," he said after China reached an agreement in this regard with the United States.

The EU is seeking stronger pledges on access for European firms to the Chinese insurance market, as well as clarification on trading rights that foreign companies will have within China, according to the European Report, an EU publication.

Besides the 15-nation bloc, Mexico has also not finalized its talks with China over WTO entry, but has said it would not block China's admission.

WTO Director-General Mike Moore also said earlier this month that it was now vital for the key players "to work quickly to translate negotiating progress into multilaterally viable texts and other related data for the information and approval of WTO in Geneva".

He referred to China's WTO entry talks and implied that once those texts are completed all countries in the WTO have to approve them.

A session of the permanent Working Party on China's accession, which has to prepare the detailed final documents amounting to thousands of pages, is to be held in Geneva from June 28 to July 4.

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