World Trade Organization
Director-General Mike Moore warmly welcomed the U.S.-China accord on Chinese accession to
the WTO, but he cautioned that substantial work remained before Beijing becomes a member
of the organization. The Director-General expressed confidence that this work could be
completed in a relatively short period of time.
The bilateral agreement on
market access is significant, Mr. Moore said, given the size and importance of the two
economies. Moreover, he said, the deal announced in Beijing today would give increased
momentum to China's accession negotiations with other WTO member governments.
is a major step forward in China's accession to the WTO. I have said many times that we
are not a World Trade Organization until China has joined. China must still reach
agreement with other member governments and we need to complete important technical talks
before China can take her rightful place at the table of great trading nations. But this
significant breakthrough has certainly given this process real momentum. A door to
history has been opened and now member governments must walk through it together,"
Mr. Moore said.
Director-General said he hoped this important agreement would also stimulate breakthroughs
in accession talks with the other 30 governments negotiating to join the WTO. While
stressing the importance of candidates joining on a sound commercial and legal basis, Mr.
Moore said it was vital that as many governments as possible be granted accession in the
very near future (see box).
representing 1.5 billion people are working hard to join us. Virtually all of these
governments represent developing countries or economies in transition. This is a strong
referendum in support of this organization as an important tool in development, growth and
better jobs. Bringing these governments into the multilateral trading system ranks among
my top priorities," Mr. Moore said.
which has been negotiating entry into the WTO and its predecessor organization the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade for 13 years, must conclude bilateral market access
agreements with dozens of other member governments. Following completion of these
bilateral talks, the process moves to a multilateral setting in Geneva where member
governments must agree on technical protocol of accession issues. These discussions, held
in the WTO's Working Party on Chinese accession, centre on establishing the legal
framework for China's entry.
substantial amount of preparatory work involved, a meeting of this Working Party will not
be convened until after the WTO's 3rd Ministerial Conference in Seattle 30
November-3 December. Mr. Moore said China's status as an observer nation at the
Ministerial Conference will take on much greater meaning following the agreement in
Seattle meeting of trade ministers from the 135 WTO member governments will set the agenda
for trade negotiations over the next few years in agriculture, services and perhaps other
candidates for WTO accession are Albania,
Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bhutan, Cambodia,
Peoples Republic of China, Croatia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lao Peoples Democratic
Republic, Lebanon, Lithuania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Nepal, Oman,
Russian Federation, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sudan, Chinese Taipei, Tonga,
Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam.