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Statement of H.E. Mr. Long Yongtu, Vice Minister of MOFTEC at the Fourth Meeting of the Working Party on China's Accession to the WTO (23 May 1997 ,Geneva)
2004/04/19
Mr. Chairman,

The Fourth Meeting of the Working Party on China's Accession to the WTO is coming to a successful conclusion. When we review the progress in the informal consultations of the Working Party meeting in the past two days, and the progress of the plurilateral meetings on subsidies, agriculture and statutory inspection held before the WP meeting, I believe that we have good reason to use a cliché to comment this meeting, that everything is on the right track. Through bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral consultations, the Chinese delegation have fully exchanged their views with members of the working party on many issues relating to the Protocol of China's WTO accession. These discussions, especially the discussions of the Annexes to the draft Protocol, enable the Chinese delegation to understand how to work within the unique framework of the WTO, and such work is concrete, complicated and difficult. However, such exercise has provided useful guidance for China in implementing international rules and practices in the fields of statutory inspection, subsidies and agricultural trade, and therefore is conducive to the development of China's foreign trade and economic relations.

Just as I have said at the beginning of the WP meeting, the Chinese delegation have brought with them the clear and strong political commitment of the Chinese government on its accession to the WTO. The Chinese government believe that China's accession to the WTO is conducive to the trade and economic development of China, and the accession is in the interests of both China and its trading partners. The Chinese government is willing to push forward this negotiation in the spirit of flexibility and pragmatism, and it hopes to see positive responses from the working party members. We are very pleased to note that it is in this very spirit of flexibility and pragmatism that we have reached the agreement on the provisions of Judicial Review and Non-discrimination in the draft Protocol. We believe that the agreement reached on these two provisions is of great significance and will have important commercial value for the 140,000 joint-ventures and wholly-owned foreign enterprises now operating in China. It demonstrates that China is committed to observing internationally accepted rules and practices in its foreign trade and economic undertakings, and is committed to, together with all the WTO members, uphold the principles of unconditionally most-favored nation treatment and non-discrimination, which are the fundamental principles of the multilateral trade and economic system. China is committed to be a responsible member of the international economic and trade system based on the balance between rights and obligations. The agreement reached between China and the WTO members on these two important provisions of the draft Protocol will immensely improve the legal environment for the foreign enterprises and individuals in their investment and trade in China, reduce their operating cost in trade and investment and therefore they are a "commercially viable" deal.

Mr. Chairman,

I fully agree with you that the discussion of the draft Protocol and the market access negotiation should proceed in parallel. We have made a series of significant progress in the discussion of the draft Protocol for which we are very much encouraged. At the same time, we are also aware that there are still many difficulties in the market access negotiations. The political commitment of the Chinese government provides propelling power for resolving these difficulties. And the Chinese delegation will, as soon as possible, translate this political commitment into improved negotiation position for resolving specific issues, so as to accelerate market access negotiations. Of course, in order to make progress in these difficult market access negotiations, we need your understanding and cooperation. We need your understanding of the reality of China's economic and social development. We need the similar flexibility and cooperation which you have demonstrated in the discussion of the draft Protocol. We are confident that, through joint effort of us, we can make decisive progress in market access negotiations in the next few months.

Mr. Chairman,

China's participation into the multilateral trading system is a historical necessity and is independent of the will of everyone here. But what we CAN do is to speed up or delay this process. None of us believes that miracle will appear over night. Any progress in the future negotiations still relies on the pains-taking and joint efforts of the working party members and the Chinese delegation.

My colleagues and I treasure very much the negotiation momentum we have gained so far. And we sincerely hope that, under your able leadership, Mr. Chairman, such momentum could be maintained and major progress will be made in the near future.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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