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Sessions Bring WTO Commitments into Focus

Foreigners working in China are concerned at whether China can fulfill the commitments it made in joining the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Matthew Andersonbian, Asia-Pacific president of Ogilbvy, is among those who expressed such concerns prior to the annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the (Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Andersonbian said global enterprises have markedly increased their confidence in China following its accession to the WTO.

"However, I also noticed that the US Government has 15 agencies specially to observe how China abides by its WTO commitments," he said.

The coming annual sessions of the NPC and CPPCC, the first to be held following China's WTO entry, will provide a good opportunity for people at home and abroad to observe closely how China reacts to the opportunities and challenges brought by its WTO entry.

Andersonbian noted that foreign enterprises are following closely the development of China's legal framework, because the fundamental requirement of the WTO is to do business in accordance with the rules.

To attract more investors, he said, the Chinese Government has to create a sound environment that is transparent and open.

Kim Woodard, chairman of Beijing-based Javelin Investment, said many foreign business people are expecting China to enhance protection of intellectual property rights, adding this is an issue that needs to be solved urgently.

Woodard, who has been in China for eight years, said the nation must see to it that all its existing laws are earnestly enforced and he expressed the hope that China's lawmaking process will become more transparent.

New laws and regulations must be made known to all enterprises, including foreign ones, before they are put into force, he said.

John Smagula, a visiting professor at the Law School of Tsinghua University from the United States, is a lawyer by profession. He suggested that starting this year, China's NPC should pay more attention to WTO-related legislation, saying this will help Chinese laws meet world standards and enhance the transparency of China's legal framework.

He said the NPC has a large number of highly competent experts now and they can help the NPC improve its work. He suggested that different NPC committees send people to other countries and learn from their experience in lawmaking.

Foreign business people also showed their interest in the economic situation and other issues of China.

Graham Patterson, an Australian teaching English at a university in Beijing, said he would like to know whether China can have sustained and steady economic growth and whether the Chinese Government can meet its targets of economic development.

Kazuya Shimada, director of the ANN-All Nippon News Network Shanghai Bureau, will come to Beijing to cover the NPC annual session today.

He believed the Chinese Government should make greater efforts in narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor through the annual sessions of the NPC and CPPCC.

(Xinhua News Agency March 4, 2002)

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