Ruggiero's speeches, 1995-99
by H.E. Vice Minister LONG Yongtu, Head of the Chinese
I call to order this formal meeting of the Working Party
on the Accession of China to the WTO. As you are aware,
intensive work has been conducted on a whole range of
outstanding issues in this accession starting, in fact,
from the morning of 5 December. My overall assessment of
the results achieved is an extremely positive one.
Considering the fact that the number of hours we have
spent during this session of the Working Party are much
less than we were able to devote during the November
session, the series of textual breakthroughs achieved
becomes even more significant. In sum, we have, this
time, succeeded quite clearly in maintaining the momentum
that we generated in November and, in fact, building on
it in a tangible and substantial manner.
Coming to the specific textual breakthroughs achieved,
let me mention them one-by-one.
we have been able to circulate a detailed text on
Non-tariff Measures for
inclusion in the next revision of the draft
Working Party Report. Though it contains a few
square brackets and some other unresolved
concerns, it nevertheless represents a very
important step forward.
we have been able to circulate a text for the
draft Report on services licensing and
transparency which have been the subject
of bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral
examination for many years. This text also has
one square bracket and talks are continuing on
this in order to clarify the issues involved. I
believe this revised text is also a major step
forward, and will lead to solutions falling into
place in other areas of China's services regime.
In relation to the other services issues, we have
held consultations which will continue at the
next Working Party meeting. I expect textual
solutions to emerge when we next meet.
I would like to turn to TRIPS.
As you are aware, this was the subject of
intensive work in November. Efforts have
continued since then and have this afternoon
resulted in my being in a position to circulate
to you a text for incorporation in the next
revision of the draft Report. This also contains
a limited number of square brackets, but still
represents a very tangible and concrete
achievement. My clear feeling is that the
remaining issues will rapidly fall into place as
the bulk of the work has already been
I am also circulating today a text dealing with Industrial
Policy, including Subsidies. As you all
know, this has been one of the most critical
hurdles facing this accession. The text before
you, naturally, contains square brackets where
positions are apart and cannot be reconciled by
words or drafting. This text is still a very
valuable piece of work for two important reasons:
it provides transparency to all members as to
where matters stand in an area which is of
interest to all; and, it sets the stage clearly
for the capitals concerned to review their
positions and take the hard political decisions
needed to find a solution before we meet next.
Here, I urge China and the other delegations
primarily concerned to take the needed steps to
ensure that we have textual solutions to propose
for multilateral approval at our next meeting.
Apart from these, we have also advanced work in a very
major way on the other areas earlier subject to
plurilateral discussion. I refer here to TBT,
Trading Rights, Agriculture and Product Specific
Safeguards/Textiles which concern both the draft
Protocol and draft Report. In each of these areas the
picture is now much clearer and efforts are now focussed
on producing textual solutions for multilateral
examination and approval at our next meeting. Indeed, if
we fall short of this goal at our next meeting, I will
consider that we have not lived up to the expectations we
have set for ourselves.
This brief description of the work we have done this time
leads me to conclude that the shape and substance of the
overall package of results in the hardcore eleven issues
is now clearly visible. The trade-offs have also now
emerged, and the governments primarily concerned must
take the political decisions necessary to bring the
package together. Again, and I am repeating myself, this
should and must be the goal for our next meeting.
While this is all to the good, I will not be fulfilling
my duties as Chairman without reminding you again of the
secondary, but equally vital, work that remains to be
tackled in this accession.
The goods and services schedules have to be finalized,
prepared by the Secretariat and circulated. Here, the
responsibilities that you have as negotiators are well
known. The Secretariat can and will advance this work on
a priority basis but can only do so with your assistance
The cleaning-up process of the other parts of
the draft Report which have not been tackled will also be
a time-consuming process and one which we cannot afford
to delay any longer. Another example of the same kind is
the cleaning-up and updating of the Annexes to the
Protocol. You will recall that these were last considered
at the Working Party level almost six months ago, and a
lot has happened since.
Yet another critical area of work ahead of us is the
harmonisation of the texts of the draft Report with that
of the present Protocol, the removal of overlaps,
conflicts and redundancies wherever they may appear. I
need hardly tell you how delicate a task this can, and
surely will be.
To conclude, December has been a good meeting because it
has succeeded in maintaining and building upon the
momentum we generated in November. But this is not the
moment to rest, but rather the one to accelerate.
Political decisions are still needed in key capitals in
important outstanding areas, and we must have them for
textual breakthroughs next time. It is only through these
new political directions that we can hope to wrap up the
core package of outstanding issues and then deal smoothly
with the secondary ones.
This is my message, and it is in this context that I am
today announcing that the next session of the Working
Party will be a week long, from 10-17 January 2001. As
usual this week-long session will be a mixture of
informal and formal meetings with the organization of
work planned in advance and in consultation with all.
I trust that this meets with your approval. Would any
delegation like to take the floor?
Thank you for your comments. As usual, I will of course
be keeping in close touch with Ambassador Pierre-Louis
Girard to brief him on progress achieved and where we
stand. I will also pass on, once again your best wishes
for a speedy recovery.
The meeting is adjourned.