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China Supports Russian WTO Entry

China's top legislator Wu Bangguo Wednesday reaffirmed the nation's support for Russia's early entry into the World Trade Organization.

During his meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Wu said that China looks forward to becoming one of the first countries to sign a bilateral agreement on market access with Russia and to share equal and mutually beneficial cooperation under the framework of WTO rules.

Russia last week signed an agreement with the European Union, which paves way for its entry into that world trade club.

Negotiations with China are still ongoing.

According to a spokesman with the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), Wu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, made five proposals for further developing trade with Russia during the talks.

Respect the rules of the market and enhance the government's macro-guidance and coordination, including efforts to improve laws and regulations, law-enforcement mechanisms and ensure the legitimate rights of foreigners in Russia.

Strengthen co-operation in major projects, between large-scale enterprises as well as in high-tech fields, so as to upgrade the economic relationship to one that incorporates trade, investment and technological partnerships.

Enhance cooperation between the local regions of the two countries and make it the new area of growth in Sino-Russian trade.

Start consultative mechanisms that are already in place to properly resolve newly emerging problems in economic ties and trade.

Promote regional economic cooperation, particularly within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Economic ties have been a major focus in Wu's talks with Russian leaders during his visit, an indicator that China is eager to keep current momentum for trade growth. Trade between China and Russia has grown remarkably for four consecutive years.

According to the NPC spokesman, Fradkov agreed with Wu, saying that Russia hopes to exchange experiences with China in market economy reforms.

Russia will work with China to take measures to improve trade structure, standardize trade order and enhance partnerships, he added.

Wu also held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin before leaving for St. Petersburg Wednesday afternoon.

The NPC spokesman quoted both leaders as stressing the importance of the strategic partnership of cooperation between the two neighbors.

The new leadership in China attaches great importance to the nation's ties with Russia, said Wu.

Noting that the political trust has been increasing while economic ties and cultural exchanges expand, Wu said that China will make more efforts to promote ties to higher levels.

Describing the relationship as full of energy, Putin particularly mentioned parliamentary exchange, saying that it has played an important part in promoting bilateral partnership.

Both men agreed on the importance of Sino-Russian consultations on major international and regional issues, and pledged to enhance cooperation in international organizations as well as within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, so as to safeguard peace and stability.

As a footnote, Putin is scheduled to visit Beijing in October.

He will also hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao when they meet next month for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's annual meeting.

(China Daily May 26, 2004)

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