China, EU Sign Agreement on China's WTO Accession

China and the European Union signed a bilateral agreement in Beijing on May 19 afternoon on China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Chinese Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Shi Guangsheng and the trade commissioner of the European Commission Pascal Lamy signed the agreement on behalf of each side. This agreement is another step forward in China's bid to join the WTO, and will also lend great impetus to the development of bilateral ties between China and the EU.

During the signing ceremony, Shi said this agreement, after five days of equal and friendly consultations and negotiations, shows the spirit of equality, friendship, and mutual-benefit, and has demonstrates the friendly ties between China and EU. Shi said he believes the implementation of the agreement will inject vitality into Sino-EU relations and bring great opportunities to Sino-EU trade ties.

Shi also noted that the signing of the agreement signifies that China's bilateral negotiations has come to the concluding phase. To date, China has yet to sign agreements with five WTO members who demanded bilateral talks with China. Shi stressed that China will play a positive and constructive role in promoting the development of the global economy and trade, and the establishment of a new international economic order.

Trade between China and Europe dates back some 2,000 years, but never has its scale been this large, both in terms of trade volume and investment, said Lamy.

The agreement is good for China, for European companies, and for bilateral relations, he added.

Undoubtedly, the EU hopes that China will deepen its reform, further develop its economy, and establish a market economy as soon as possible, said Lamy.

The EU is convinced that China's WTO accession will provide new impetus to the country's reform, and in that sense, the signing of the agreement is of special significance, added Lamy, emphasizing that the agreement is beneficial to both sides.

The EU delegation led by Lamy arrived here on May 15 to begin this round of bilateral talks with the Chinese side.

Earlier this year, China and the EU conducted three rounds of negotiations, one in Brussels and two in Beijing.

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