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|Wednesday, November 07, 2001, updated at 14:34(GMT+8)|
China's Entry Into WTO Important to Global Community, Barshefsky SaysFormer US trade representative Charlene Barshefsky said Tuesday in Washington that China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) is "extremely important" to the global community, "it is important that China, as the most populous country in the world, be included" in the WTO and China's entry will make it "truly a World Trade Organization".
"It is equally important for the strength of the global trading system that China be a member of the organization that creates rules of trade for countries around the world," she said.
China, a founding member of the global trading system following the World War II, is expected to be admitted into the WTO at its ministerial meeting slated to be held in Doha, Qatar, from November 9 to 13.
China's accession to the WTO "is a testament to a degree of economic reform that has already occurred in China over a number of years" as well as "a testament to future reforms that China will be undertaking", the former trade representative said.
Describing China's entry into WTO and the successful bidding for the 2008 Olympic games as "a very big year for China", she said that it is an indication of the very significant role that China plays on the global stage and an indication that the world wishes to embrace a more open China.
Stable Foundation for US-China TiesOn the impact of China's entry into the WTO on the Sino-US ties, Barshefsky said that it "provides for the first time a stable foundation" for the broader US-China relationship.
China and the United States signed a bilateral agreement on China's accession to the WTO on November 15, 1999. The "win-win" deal, reached after 13 years of struggle, accelerated China's entry into the WTO.
China's entry into the global system is "to be globally important underpinning for the US-China bilateral relationship," Barshefsky said.
She said that economic growth and economic interaction "encourages not only prosperity for countries that trade together, but also encourages stability and peace."
Economic Engine for AsiaWhen asked what China's accession to the WTO means to the world economy, Barshefsky said that it would help promote the economic growth in surrounding nations in Asia.
It is very important as the world is "facing a simultaneous slowdown among the major trading partners economically," she added.
She said that China's economy continues to grow at a healthy and relatively stable rate. "This may mean that china's growth helps to promote growth at minimum in surrounding countries in Asia, perhaps, more broadly."
Though "we cannot overstate this point," she said, "certainly China's economy looks quite attractive when examining other Asian and western nations during this time of global downturn."
New Round of Global Trade TalksOn the possibility of launching a new round of global trade talks at the Doha meeting, Barshefsky said it is "quite likely." "I do think that a round (of trade talks) will be launched even though it will certainly take five or seven years to complete." "It will be an important step at this moment of global downturn economically," she said.
Talking of the ministerial declaration, Barshefsky said that she thought it's "likely that the ministerial declaration will be very vague in a number of respects" as "agreement on many of the particulars is going to be hard to reach."
The ministerial declaration will be "ambiguous" and following Doha meeting, there will likely be one or two years of discussions among WTO members on what precisely they are going to negotiate about, she added.
The world trade body failed to launch a new round of global trade talks at the ministerial meeting held in Seattle,the United States, in 1999. Over the past year in Geneva, WTO members argued inconclusively over whether to launch a new round of talks and what areas of trade it should cover.
Developed Countries to Open Markets More RapidlyCharlene Barshefsky urged the developed countries to open their markets more rapidly than the developing countries, "the developed countries should give complete market access to the poorest countries".
"I do think it is an equitable and fair thing to do" though this is a politically controversial view in many developed countries, she said.
On the problem of disequilibrium and inequality in the world trade between the developed and developing nations, Barshefsky said "the entire subject will be an important aspect to global negotiation following the Doha meeting."
She said a number of studies demonstrated that the developing countries that embrace the globalization grow economically at a much faster rate than those that stay isolated.
Citing unequal income distribution in the United States as an example, Barshefsky said "the same happens between nations," adding that "nations one to another may need to look for ways to create more equitable trade and more equitable balance of trade."
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