Ruggiero's speeches, 1995-99
I have pleasure in convening this formal session of the
Working Party on China's accession to the WTO. I am sure
you have all received the convening notice setting out
I will shortly be giving the floor to delegations who
wish to offer views and suggestions. We will, of course,
benefit particularly from Mr. Long's own assessment of
where matters now stand, and how China sees the accession
process going forward.
But before opening the floor, I would like, with your
permission, to share my own views on these matters as
seen from the overall perspective of the chair. In so
doing, I will try to cover both items on our agenda
today. The two, in any case, are closely inter-related
and should be addressed together.
First, our review of progress in finalizing China's
market access schedules in goods and services. Here the
good news is that it is clear China is accelerating
efforts to conclude all its outstanding negotiations.
Even this week we have been informed of new concluded
bilaterals, i.e. those with Bolivia, Costa Rica and
Venezuela. However, I must stress that many substantive,
verification and technical gaps still need to be filled.
The Secretariat is advancing work as best it can in
finalizing the schedules, but we need your help and
specific inputs. You all know the inputs involved. I need
not say more. This matter requires priority attention by
China and members concerned.
As to the outstanding multilateral issues, the momentum
we have generated towards concluding this accession
rapidly can be clearly seen. This momentum has been
specific and concrete in terms of textual breakthroughs
in central subjects like transitional review mechanism;
judicial review, uniform administration and transparency;
and tariff-rate quota administration. Furthermore, the
progress made in my testing process in other
areas such as quantitative import restrictions; technical
barriers to trade; agricultural policy; and TRIPS, has
been substantial enough for me to say today that we can
expect similar textual breakthroughs soon and, in any
case, before we meet next. The Secretariat will, of
course, circulate these texts to all members of this
Working Party as soon as they are received. My strong
preference is to let members have these texts before our
next meeting so as to make multilateral agreement
smoother. I therefore urge China and the most interested
delegations to intensify their consultations on these
subjects in the same spirit of flexibility that they have
shown this week, and, of course, I remain fully available
to assist in whatever way possible.
Still on the subject of multilateral issues, we should
not forget the questions we have not addressed this time.
Quick progress is vital for our success. I am referring,
of course, to those of the eleven plurilateral
issues which were not ripe for textual solution
this time. I have in mind areas such as anti-dumping and
countervailing measures; product specific safeguards and
textiles; services; and trading rights.
I would like to also take this opportunity to welcome the
contributions made by China during this session of the
Working Party, especially on TRIPS and domestic
implementation legislation (the latter circulated today
in document WT/ACC/CHN/40). I am sure that these will go
a long way towards finalisation of multilateral viable
texts in these areas.
I believe we did well this time to focus only on the more
promising areas. But, it is clear that our next meeting
will be even more meaningful if we can address all the
pending issues in the same focussed manner as we
proceeded to do this time. Here, I mean texts both for
the Draft Protocol and, where needed, for the Draft
Report. It is only then that we can have a genuine
multilateral cleaning-up process of these
documents as a whole.
I suggest, therefore, that this is the task we set for
ourselves when we meet next. I am consciously putting to
you an ambitious work programme. This is particularly so
because I know that major political decisions have still
to be taken in many of these areas. Given the solid
momentum we have generated this time, I have every hope
that work will continue to advance along the lines of the
plan I have just laid out. For this same reason, I feel
we should do everything possible to maintain and
accelerate the momentum we have gained. I shall remain in
close contact with capitals and, indeed, with all of you
again in the days ahead.
I have set before you my ideas on the agenda of our next
session. As to the timing, I am, of course, in your
hands. The Geneva delegations will all know that this
December will be an especially full, short and difficult
month. However, I propose that we get together again for
our next session from 5 to 8 December. I further suggest
that our method of work should be along the same lines as
this week with a formal round-up meeting on 8
December. This would be the best way to capture and
incorporate the further progress you all hope to achieve
during this period.
With these preliminary views, I open the floor. I shall,
of course, be grateful for your views, reactions and
Thank you very much for your views. It goes without
saying that I will remain in close touch with Ambassador
Pierre-Louis Girard and immediately inform him of our
meeting is adjourned.