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China Makes Breakthrough in Bid for WTO(2001.07.05)
China has completed the substantial negotiations at the 16th Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Working Party on the Access of China, which will become a turning point in the long process of the country's entry into WTO, Long Yongtu, China's chief negotiator said Wednesday in Geneva.

He said this meeting has reached substantial and positive conclusion on the 12 major outstanding issues including the issues of agriculture, industrial subsidies, trading rights and transitional review mechanism.

He said there will be a vote on China's access to WTO at the 4th Ministerial Meeting in Doha, Qatar this November.

Chinese National People's Congress will then ratify the whole package of the documents and China becomes a member of WTO after it has notified the WTO that this has been done.

Chairman of the China's Working Party Girard said that this particular session of the Working Party has been a "very productive one." He noted that members and China engaged constructively and intensively to resolve difficult points of difference, with very positive outcomes.

Long Yongtu said at the meeting that "China's WTO accession is in the interest of all WTO members as well as the multilateral trading system represented by the WTO.

"Since China's accession benefits China and the WTO members, there is no reason to doubt whether China would firmly implement its commitments made in the negotiations," Long said.

Moore Hails Progress

Director-General Moore of the World Trade Organization (WTO) welcomed the substantial progress made by the WTO member governments in their efforts to complete work on the accession of China into the organization.

He said the progress made by the Working Party on China's accession this week has improved the prospects for a decision on China's entry this November at the 4th Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar.

"It would be a splendid thing if ministers could take this decision in Doha and clear the way for China to join the family of governments at our negotiating table," Moore noted.

"The very good work this week by member governments and Working Party Chairman Pierre-Louis Girard has brought us one significant step closer to attaining that objective. In any event, completion of the Working-Party process will clearly constitute a major milestone," Moore added.

Moore urged member governments to use the time available before the next Working Party meeting during the week of July 16 to resolve all remaining differences and agree on the documents that must be completed before the Working Party can recommend China's accession to ministers.

"We are now very close, but we are not there yet. I urge governments to make every effort to conclude these negotiations as quickly as possible," Moore said.

The 16th meeting of Working Party on China's accession began on June 28. Following a week of intense negotiation, the Working Party on China's accession reached agreement in important areas of its work and succeeded in isolating the remaining differences.

The next Working Party meeting is scheduled for the week of July 16. The Working Party Chairman Girard told member governments that he expected that meeting to focus on comprehensive drafts of the Working Party Report and Protocol of Accession.

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