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China Keeps Faith in Doha Trade Talks
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China vows to keep pushing for the Doha Round trade talks and to safeguard the multilateral trade system, Chinese finance minister Jin Renqing told visiting WTO chief Pascal Lamy in Beijing on Monday.

In talks with visiting World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Pascal Lamy, Jin said that China would keep contributing to the Doha talks, and pointed out that the country has honored its WTO accession commitments by slashing tariffs and continually opening up its markets.

Ministry of Finance stats show that tariff duties on non-farm produce have plummeted from 42 percent in 1992 to 8.9 percent now whilst farm produce tariffs have similarly dropped from 54 percent to 15.3 since 2001.
The WTO chief reiterated that the issues currently stalling the Doha round of talks revolved around agricultural subsidies, and tariff cuts on agricultural and non-agricultural products.

The Doha Round began in 2001 with the noble aims of boosting global economy and helping to establish fairer trade conditions in poor countries.

For his part, Lamy expressed his hopes to see China bring in more flexible policies on its farm produce imports and abide by its word in helping push forward the trade talks.

He voiced concerns about China's market access rules over certain non-agricultural products and called for the Doha talks to see closer cooperation between China, the United States and the European Union.

Jin replied by saying that agricultural trade talks should be eased since China has slashed import tariffs on farm produce despite having a long-standing trade deficit in the area, a fact which impacts directly on the country's 900 million rural people.

Jin also pointed out that developed countries should take the lead in the Doha trade talks, and that China would bolster support for the talks amongst developing nations, particularly in terms of the recently acceded members who have yet to feel their concerns be properly addressed

Lamy, who arrived in Beijing on Sunday for a four-day visit, will meet with officials from the Ministries of Commerce, Finance, Agriculture and the Central Bank whilst also discussing the issue of intellectual property rights.

Before leaving for China, Lamy said he would encourage China to lead developing countries to a more active participation at the trade talks, enabling them to be concluded within six to nine months.

(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2007)

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