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New Round of WTO Talks and China's Stance

The new round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks, initiated in November, 2001, is set to be completed before Jan. 1, 2005, but the progress so far has been slow.

The WTO's fourth ministerial conference, the organization's top decision-making body, triggered the new round talks by instituting the Doha Development Agenda last November.


Subjects of the negotiations includes the implementation of the present WTO agreement, agriculture, services, market access for non-agricultural products, trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights and relationship between trade and investment.


Those talks also cover interaction between trade and competition policy, transparency in government procurement, trade facilitation, WTO rules, dispute settlement and trade and environment.


The world trade body will hold its fifth ministerial conference this September in Mexico's Cancun to assess the progress of the new round talks.


So far, most of the negotiations didn't hit the set goals timely. WTO members were divided by the key negotiation on the agricultural issues. The problems developing countries concerned most, such as public health, the implementation of signed contracts, were also not solved on time.


China is anxious about the stagnant progress and attributes that to some members' lack of enough flexibility and political willingness, according to trade analysts here.


In order to promote the progress of the new negotiations and to realize the "development" theme of this round of talks, China holds that the most important is to settle the development issue concerned by developing country members as a priority, and to strengthen their confidence in the multilateral trade system.


China holds that to reach a series of balanced agreements at an early date is in the interests of all sides concerned and can promote the long-term and stable development of the world economy and trade.


China has expressed its willingness to actively participate and promote all negotiations and discussions involved in the Doha agenda.


(Xinhua News Agency July 20, 2003)




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