New Round of WTO Negotiation Important to Restoring World Economic Growth: Interview

The following is an exclusive interview conducted between Chen Te'an, People's Daily correspondent in Canada, and director of Canada Center for Trade Policy and Law.

Recently, Prof. William A. Diamond, director of the Center for Canada Trade Policy and Law and former director of the Legislative Department of the Canadian Ministry of External Affairs and International Trade, and Mr Wenguo Cai, senior associate of the Asia-Pacific Region of the Center, accepted the exclusive interview given by the correspondent according to an appointment.

The 4th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is scheduled to be held in Doha, the capital of Qatar from November 9 to 13, our topic of conversation will develop around a new round of WTO negotiation.

When asked whether the APEC Leaders' Meeting recently held in China's Shanghai would play the role of promoting the start of a new round of trade talks, Prof. Diamond gave an affirmative answer "Yes". He thought the Shanghai APEC Meeting was very successful, and China, as the host, had done a lot of work, and some consensus was reached at the meeting, this has played an important role in promoting a new round of WTO negotiation. Starting a new round of WTO negotiation is in the fundamental interests of various APEC economies. Influenced by the "September 11" terrorist attack, the current world economy is on the verge of depression. Against such a backdrop, economies representatives attending the APEC Meeting all said that starting a new round of WTO negotiation is vitally important to restoring world economic growth. This, without a doubt, transmits an effective information to the world.

"Do you think that Canada also hopes a new round of WTO negotiation would be started at the Doha Conference as scheduled as soon as possible?", asked the correspondent.

As an advisor going with the Canadian Delegation to the 4th APEC Ministerial Conference, Diamond answered: "Canada hopes a new round of WTO negotiation would be started as quickly as possible and hopes the negotiation could achieve progress as soon as possible, because the effect of the incident of terrorist attack has exerted vigorous impact on the world economy, how to get the world economy, including the Canadian economy, out of predicament, and restore economic growth is especially important".

According to Diamond, presently, the World Trade Organization has achieved progress in negotiation in some areas, and this has created conditions for the start of a new round of negotiation. For example, differences in opening service trade and trade in agricultural produce are being reduced, the drafting of related documents has comparatively been in place, this has provided a fairly good foundation for negotiating the text. The Doha Conference will make it possible to start a new round of WTO negotiation, although some developing countries have reservations about this, most countries, however, adopt an active attitude.

"What propositions and expectations does Canada have relating to a new round of WTO negotiation?"

After thinking for a moment, Diamond said just like Canadian International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew recently said that Canada's goal in WTO was to create a kind of more free, fair and forward-looking trade, so as to promote Canada's economic growth and social prosperity.

"In order to attain this goal", Diamond continued, "Canada will continue to keep its ability to regulate the public's interests, including aspects such as the protection of animals and plants, human health and security as well as the management of environmental protection and natural resources; while taking an active and comprehensive part in the WTO affairs, Canada will reiterate that it will not carry out negotiation on hygiene, public education and social service".

Wenguo Cai added that Canada's negotiation objective might include: non-agricultural customs duty; straightening out the unfair anti-dumping law; improving the mechanism for solving trade differences; simplifying the formalities for the transit of goods; and increasing the transparency of government purchasing process. He went on to say that Canadian International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew indicated in the new round of negotiation, the developing countries' demands should be given priority consideration.

"In your opinion, what positive impact will China's immediate WTO entry bring on Chinese-Canadian economic and trade cooperation?", the correspondent finally asked.

"Undoubtedly, it will add fresh vigor to Canadian-Chinese economic and trade relations", Diamond took over the topic of conversation without any thinking, he said, "In my mind, Canada supports and welcomes China's accession to the WTO, Canada wishes to further develop Canadian-Chinese economic and trade cooperation. China's entry into the WTO will provide new opportunities for Canadian-Chinese economic and trade cooperation and will open up broader prospects". Wenguo Cai also chimed in: It's Canada's view that China's accession to the WTO will play an important role."

By People's Daily Online

People's Daily Online ---