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Statement by H.E. Vice Minister Long Yongtu, Head of the Chinese Delegation at the Eleventh Session of the Working Party on China (27 July, 2000, Geneva)
2004/04/19
Mr. Chairman,

I am pleased to lead the Chinese Delegation to the eleventh session of the Working Party on China and to continue the discussions on the multilateral legal documents on China's WTO accession with the Working Party members.

During this session, the WTO Secretariat has done a great amount of paper work in consolidating the proposals of various parties. In the meantime, Mr. Chairman, you have organized plurilateral meetings regarding domestic support for agricultural products, TRQ administration, TBT and transparency and judicial review. These plurilateral meetings have played a positive role for the Chinese Delegation and the Working Party members to clarify view points on relevant issues, exchange opinions and reach consensus. We hope that more plurilaterals could be convened to settle the difficulties and promote the negotiation process in our work of the next stage. In the discussions on the Protocol and the Working Party Report, many Working Party members have taken an active and constructive attitude. We appreciate their contributions to the progress made in this session.

Mr. Chairman,

China's WTO accession negotiations are making steadily progress on the right track. In respect of bilateral negotiations, we have signed bilateral agreements with Ecuador and Guatemala this week and have concluded our negotiations with Costa Rica. Thus we have shortened the long list of our negotiating to only two Members, namely, Mexico and Switzerland. I believe that important progress has also been made in our talks with them and hope that through our concerted efforts, all bilateral WTO negotiations will be concluded in the near future.

During this session, our multilateral negotiations on the drafting of the multilateral legal documents for China's accession has been made another step forward on the basis of the progress of the several sessions convened in Geneva recently, and the tenth session in particular. China and Working Party members have reached consensus on many provisions of the Protocol and the drafting of the Working Party Report has also entered into the stage of substantive discussions.

In order to complete the tasks in front of the Working Party, I would like to express the positions of the Chinese Delegation on some major issues.

First, with regard to the "multilateralization" of the bilateral agreements. In this connection, I want stress hereby which China is a country that holds principle and keeps its words. China will strictly abide by and earnestly implement all the commitments made in the bilateral agreements. Any report that China would backtrack from its bilateral commitments is totally groundless. As matter of fact, we have no intention to change even a dot or comma of the bilateral agreements. On the contrary, in accordance with to the MFN principle of WTO, we have agreed to multilateralize all bilateral agreements on the text of the Protocol and Working Party Report in the legal documents. It is fair to say that the Chinese Delegation has demonstrated the maximum sincerity in respect of the "multilateralization" and has contributed to the comprehensive progress on this matter which was once considered as the most difficult issue. In the meantime, it is also impossible for China to make additional commitments beyond the bilateral agreements on market access through this multilateral negotiating process, given the utmost efforts that China has already made. The bilateral agreements represent a very delicate balance reached through painstaking negotiations. The attempt to break this balance through multilateralization will not be helpful to the smooth implementation of the bilateral agreements.

Secondly, I would like to reiterate our position on the issue of developing country status of China. This issue has almost run through the whole negotiation process of China's resumption of its contracting party status to GATT and its WTO accession. It is an indisputable fact that China is a developing country. In the WTO, it is up to the Members themselves to decide whether they are developing economies or not, requiring no recognition of any other Members, let alone to obtain their "approval". Since China is a developing country, there is no doubt that China is entitled to the provisions on special and deferential treatment to developing countries as provided for in the WTO Agreement. No Member in the WTO has the right to demand that China not to invoke such provisions and to reflect their demands in the Protocol or the Working Party Report. This is a fundamental principle for China. Of course, China's legitimate right to invoke these provisions does not mean that China will automatically recourse to them under all circumstances. China has decided not to invoke some of these provisions reserved for developing countries in light of its own development level and its ability to undertake obligations in some areas. For instance, China has met the requirements of the WTO Agreement with regard to the legislation for the IPR protection. In this case, China certainly will not have to recourse to the transitional provisions for developing countries in the TRIPS Agreement. China's practice on this issue not only reflects its stance of principle, but also demonstrates its practical attitude and flexibility in taking its decisions based on different situation. I believe that we can find solutions to these issues together with the Working Party members.

Thirdly, the Working Party needs to reach a consensus on how to resolve the remaining issues in the multilateral negotiations, especially the principles for drafting the Working Party Report, given the huge amount of workload. China believes that the Working Party Report should not be an all-inclusive "Encyclopedia", but should highlight the major points. It should make corresponding explanations and elaboration of the viewpoints of various parties as well as China's commitments. Moreover, it should not be an unnecessary repetition of the provisions of the WTO Agreement, nor an arbitrary interpretations of these articles. For instance, since the relevant WTO agreements have clearly provided for the procedures of granting licenses, it would be sufficient for China. What's more, China ensure the full implementation of these provisions and has submitted to the Secretariat a thick document in this regard for transparency purpose. Therefore, no additional commitments in this regard should be imposed on China. The concepts and standards which are not clearly defined in the WTO Agreement, such as non-market economy, surrogate price comparability and end users, shall be clarified in the Working Party Report in accordance with the principle of transparency, so as to enable all parities concerned to follow.

Mr. Chairman,

I agree to what you have summarized just now that despite of the importance progress we have achieved so far, there is a lot of work yet to be done. China and the Working Party members respect value the results reached so far which is of the outcome of arduous work in the previous bilateral and multilateral negotiations. I appreciate the understanding, cooperation and support of the Working Party members to China. I believe that mutual trust is the basic condition for the success of any negotiation. As long as we take a flexible and practical attitude in the spirit of mutual trust and mutual understanding, we will accomplish the common objective of China's WTO accession at an earlier date.

The Chinese Delegation is looking forward to more progress in the next session of the Working Party.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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