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China Works Hard to Fulfill WTO Commitments

China worked conscientiously last year to fulfill the commitments it made for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and continued to lower tariff rates and opened the service sector wider to the outside world, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday.

In a report on government work delivered at the opening of the Second Session of the Tenth National People's Congress, Wen said that last year China further relaxed control over who could engage in foreign trade.

"We formulated and put into effect a plan for reforming the mechanism for export tax rebates; this will gradually bring about a rational settlement of the long-standing problem of overdue export tax rebates," Wen said.

The government also intensified its work dealing with anti-dumping investigations made against China and settling trade disputes.

While further improving the import and export mix, China utilized US$53.5 billion in foreign direct investment in 2003.

State foreign exchange reserves reached US$403.3 billion at the end of the year, US$116.8 billion more than at the beginning, and the exchange rate for the Renminbi remained stable.

"Last year, we signed the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement with both Hong Kong and Macao, thereby strengthening economic ties between the mainland and the two regions," Wen said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 5, 2004)

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