9 November 2000
Thirteenth session of the Working Party on China
Statement by H.E. Vice Minister LONG Yongtu, Head of the Chinese Delegation
My colleagues of the Chinese Delegation and I are pleased to participate the thirteenth session of the Working Party on China's accession to the WTO and to continue the discussions on the legal instruments of China's WTO accession.
Before I share with you my assessment on the results of this session, I would like to express my sincere regards to Mr. Girard who was injured in a traffic accident. I wish that he could recover at an earlier day and could join us again and lead this historic negotiation which he has chaired for 14 years to a successful conclusion. I would like to express my heart-felt gratitude to Deputy Director-General, Mr. Ravier. Under your able leadership, we have made positive progress in many areas during this session and have reached agreement on some issues. The chairmen of plurilateral meetings and the Secretariat have provided valuable assistance and made their own contributions to the progress achieved in the multilateral negotiations. The achievement of this session has demonstrated that the Secretariat can play an important role to facilitate the negotiation process.
I agree to your assessment on this session. Encouraging momentum has emerged during this session. China and other members of the Working Party have made a critical step forward towards the common goal of the comprehensive conclusion of the negotiations.
We have reached agreement on judicial review, transparency and uniform administration and have agreed upon a multilateral text on these issues which has been submitted to the Working Party.
We have also achieved major progress on the issues of TRIPS, TRQ administration, NTMs, industrial policy and transitional review mechanism.
As for some of the remaining issues, I would like to state our positions.
First, on the issue of agriculture and industrial policy.
The key to achieve progress in these important areas is to handle the relevant provisions of the Agreement on Agriculture and the SCM Agreement in an appropriate manner and to recognize the fact that China is a developing country so as to develop a package solution.
Secondly, on the issue of trading right.
China will honor its commitment in this regard by granting national treatment to all foreign individuals and enterprises with respect to the right to trade. At the same time, all foreign enterprises and individuals which want to obtain the right to trade throughout the customs territory of China should abide by the relevant laws and regulations of China as all Chinese citizens and enterprises do.
Thirdly, on the issue of TBT.
China commits to implement the principle of national treatment in a strictly manner. In order to show China's sincerity, we have submitted a plan on the implementation which we believe, will be effective and practical.
Fourthly, on the issue of transitional review mechanism.
Agreed text has already been reached on this issue among parties concerned. The solution of the remaining gap depends on the recognition of the transitional nature of this mechanism.
Fifthly, on the issue of relevant criteria of anti-dumping and procedure of product-specific safeguard.
We are deeply concerned on the possible result of the multilateralization of the anti-dumping provision and product-specific safeguard provision in the Draft Protocol. China believes that relevant criteria and procedure should be established in this regard so as to avoid possible abuse in the future.
Sixthly, on the issue of services.
We will ensure that our commitments in the market access of services could be effectively implemented However, the other members of the Working Party should not continue to raise additional requests to China on some specific areas of market access.
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that China will abide by its commitments made in the bilateral and multilateral negotiations. We are convinced that the observance of these commitments while benefit all the Members of the WTO, will first and foremost benefit China in the implementation of its reform and opening up policy. China has started a series of preparation works to ensure the implementation of its commitment.
In order to ensure that China's economic and trade laws and regulations are consistent with the WTO Agreement, we have initiated a thorough review of the existing laws and regulations related to trade. More than 30 laws and regulations have already been put on the agenda for revision. This work has been sped up. The revision on the Customs Law has been concluded last July and the revised Law is in conformity with the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement and the Agreement on Rules of Origin.
In the area of Intellectual Property Rights, the revision on the Patent Law has been concluded in last August. And the draft amendment on the Trademark Law and the Copyright Law will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in December. Other legislative works in the area of intellectual property rights have also been sped up. Upon China's accession, China will fully implement the obligations under the TRIPS Agreement.
In the area of TRIMs, just before this session of the Working Party, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has passed two Amendments. These are amendments to the Law on Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures, and the Law on Foreign Capital Enterprises. The Amendment to the Law on Chinese Foreign Equity Joint Ventures, according to our plan, will also be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in March 2001. Therefore, upon accession, China will fully implement its obligations under the TRIMs Agreement.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Government has made great efforts to organize various government departments in reviewing and examining relevant department rules. The Chinese Delegation has submitted a comprehensive and detailed plan for the revision of domestic laws which contain more accurate timetable. In addition, we have organized extensive training courses for the government officials at national and subnational levels as well as for the managers of enterprises. These training courses will enable them to familiarize with the WTO rules and China's commitments in the negotiations. We believe these training will be one of the important conditions for the implementation of China's Commitment.
China hopes to accede to the WTO at an early date on the basis of balance between rights and obligations. However, the specific date of China's accession is not totally in our hands. In case the WTO Members have the political will to conclude the negotiations at the next session, China will make its best efforts to achieve that goal. China has showed adequate sincerity and flexibility and hopes that its efforts could be reciprocated by WTO Members. At this final stage of the negotiations in particular, the common goal of China's early WTO accession will only be achieved should all the parties concerned show a flexible and practical attitude.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.