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Speed Urged for Global Trade Talks
China is urging members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to speed up multilateral trade negotiations so that global trade can develop smoothly.

Chinese Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation Long Yongtu made the remarks on Thursday while explaining China's views on retarded trade negotiations arranged in the Doha Declaration.

Addressing the ongoing session of the trade negotiations committee at the WTO headquarters, Long said the slow overall progress of negotiations since the launching of the Doha Development agenda eight months ago has posed a tough challenge for finishing negotiations by January 1, 2005, and achieving the goals set by the Doha Declaration.

The 144-member WTO agreed in November to launch a new round of negotiations aimed at removing obstacles to international trade in goods and services.

He said concrete measures by WTO members to implement the Uruguay pact by the end of the year are the precondition for a breakthrough in current multilateral trade negotiations.

"The market access of agricultural products, textiles liberalization, market access to developed countries and revision of relevant rules are of great concern to developing members and should be priorities," the Chinese vice-minister said.

Long said that special treatment, an important element of the WTO agreement, should not be just a slogan, but rather an integral part of agreements among developed members.

He reiterated that with the overall development and deepening of the negotiations, it is necessary to strengthen the capacity building of those members to ensure their participation in the negotiations to achieve their equitable rights.

Long said China, as a developing country and a new member, is willing to continue playing a constructive role in negotiations to promote the new round of talks and seek a balance of interests among the various parties in the multilateral trading system.

(China Daily July 20, 2002)

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