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Zhu Reiterates Resolution to Fulfil WTO Commitments

Premier Zhu Rongji told a group of international business leaders and economists that China will rigorously honor its promises for entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) despite volatile international economic situations in recent months.

Zhu was speaking to a group of foreign participants at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the China Development Forum.

"After China becomes a full member of the WTO, changes took place in international economic situations in the past several months," Zhu said.

"However, China will strictly honor its commitments for entry to the WTO, including the continued opening up of China's financial and insurance sector."

There were advantages and disadvantages for China with its entry to the WTO, but in the long run, advantages will outweigh disadvantages, he said.

Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng also said yesterday at the forum that, as a responsible country, China will fulfill all its commitments in the WTO treaty and bilateral agreements with other WTO members.

"The government has proved and will continue to prove its confidence and ability to fulfill its commitments with solid facts," Shi said.

Problems may appear in the process, as every WTO member has experienced, Shi said. However, he stressed the government is determined and capable of handling all possible problems.

On questions that the United States is polling its companies and institutions in China to examine China's fulfillment on WTO commitments, Shi suggested the US not just focus on parts which have not been fulfilled yet, but have a look at those that have performed or even done better than China's promises.

China has lowered import tariffs on more than 5,000 kinds of commodities since January 1, which cuts the tariff rate to 12 per cent from 15.3 per cent last year.

Shi proposed that, when the US examines China, it should first look at its own recent safeguard tariffs on steel imports.

US protectionism triggered angry attacks from its major trade partners, which goes against WTO rules and the world's move towards free trade, Shi said.

"We will see the negotiation results and take next-step measures," Shi added. On the issue of China's rising foreign trade frictions, Shi said it is not the result of China's WTO entry.

"I attribute the rise to the revival of trade protectionism in the world when major economies are suffering from recession," Shi said.

China is the largest victim of trade protectionism, receiving 480 pieces of anti-dumping charges, he said.

(China Daily March 26, 2002)

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