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EU Seeks More Access to Market (05/12/2001)
European businesses are seeking greater access to the Chinese market while celebrating their success in helping China join the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"China's accession to the WTO is imminent, and the commitments made in the Accession Protocol will bring fresh opportunities for European businesses in China,'' said Peter Batey, president of the European Union (EU) Chamber of Commerce in China.

He said two of the chamber's priorities for 2002 are monitoring the implementation of China's WTO accession pledges and improving market access.

"The gradual opening as outlined in the WTO agreement may prove too slow to counter the very limited opportunities for profitable business in China for foreign banks, which are also burdened by an unusual amount of bureaucratic requirements,'' said an annual position paper issued Tuesday by the chamber.

The paper, the second of its kind since the establishment of the chamber last October, suggested that China do more to open its market in such sectors as banking, automobiles, agriculture, aerospace, insurance, securities, pharmaceutical, tourism, trade and distribution, transportation, petrochemical, information technology, cosmetics, accounting, auditing and taxation.

It also pressed the Chinese Government to improve its legal framework and to intensify its efforts on the protection of intellectual property rights.

The chamber president said a conference will be convened to discuss the paper and the next edition early next year in Beijing.

Participants will include the 16 sectoral working groups of the chamber, the national chamber of business associations of the EU countries and the commercial sections of the 15 national embassies, Batey said.

The chamber presented the paper to visiting EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy, hoping it would help him in his trade negotiations with China.

The chamber said it also has presented the paper to Yu Xiaosong, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and will file the paper with various Chinese ministries and commissions as well as governments of EU countries via their embassies in China.

"I am confident that the annual position paper will become an increasingly useful tool in promoting access to the Chinese market as the years go by,'' Batey said.

China's exports to Europe rose 7.4 per cent to US$40.3 billion while imports soared 21.4 per cent to US$39.7 billion in the first 10 months of this year, according to Chinese customs statistics.

(China Daily December 5, 2001)

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