8 December 2000
Fourteenth Session of the Working Party on China
Statement by H.E. Vice Minister LONG Yongtu, Head of the Chinese Delegation
I am very pleased to lead the Chinese Delegation to Geneva at the seventh time this year to participate the fourteenth session of the Working Party on China's accession to the WTO and to continue the discussions on the multilateral legal documents on China's WTO accession with the Working Party members.
At the outset, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the acting Chairman of the Working Party and Deputy Director-General of the WTO, Mr. Ravier. Under your able leadership, further substantive progress has been made on some outstanding issues at this session. My gratitude also goes to the Chairmen of the plurilateral groups and the Secretariat for your contributions to the progress in the multilateral negotiations.
I agree to your assessment on this session. Although this session is relatively short, the work has been extremely intensive. Based on the momentum at the multilateral level brought about by the significant progress achieved at the last session, further important headway has been made on some outstanding issues at this session and has maintained the dynamic momentum of this multilateral process.
Major progress has been achieved at this session on NTMs, industrial policy, licensing procedures and transparency in services and the texts for multilateral discussions have been formed.
Under the guidance of you and the Chairman of the plurilateral group on TRIPS, the text of the Draft Working Party on TRIPS has been agreed upon. This is an important result of this session. It has demonstrated China's consistent stance to respect intellectual property rights and to raise the level of its IPR protection.
As for the remaining issues including trading rights, TBT, anti-dumping and safeguards, further consultations between China and the Working Party members are still needed. I would like to share with you our positions on these issues.
First, On trading rights.
China and the Working Party members have reached agreement on the relevant text of the Draft Protocol in 1997. China has also agreed to further clarify and specify in the Draft Working Party Report the arrangement regarding gradual liberalization of trading rights in the transitional period and the granting of national treatment to foreign enterprises and individuals. I would like to emphasize that "accorded treatment no less favorable than that accorded to enterprises in China" means that foreign enterprises and individuals should necessarily go through formalities in order to obtain trading rights as the Chinese enterprises and individuals do. We can only commit to accord national treatment, but not "super national treatment", to foreign enterprises and individuals in this regard.
Second, On TBT.
Different national conditions result in differences on the structure of inspection agencies. China commits to implement the principle of national treatment in a strict manner after acceding to the WTO, which will be -through one standard, one procedure, one charge and one mark. To ensure the implementation of the national treatment, we have submitted a more detailed and feasible implementation plan at this session. I hope that the Working Party members will give realistic and positive considerations in this regard.
Thirdly, On the relevant provisions of the Subsidies Agreement and the Agreement on Agriculture.
As a developing country, China should fully enjoy the treatment of the WTO developing country Members after its accession. This is the fundamental principle of our accession to the WTO. China will decide whether to apply and on which conditions to apply the developing countries provisions in light of its own conditions and needs. I hope that the Working Party members will pay enough attention to China's concerns regarding the relevant developing country provisions of the Subsidies Agreement and the Agreement on Agriculture. China is willing to resolve this issue in a fair and balanced manner through consultations on equal basis.
Fourthly, On the relevant criteria of anti-dumping and procedure of product-specific safeguards.
believes that it is necessary to establish the relevant
criteria, definition and procedure with regard to these
two issues so as to avoid possible abuse in the future.
It should be noted that certain progress has been made on
product-specific safeguards after the plurilateral group
meeting this week. We are looking forward to working
together with all parties concerned to continue
accelerating the negotiations on this issue.
Fifthly, On market access.
During the multilateral negotiations, some Members continue to raise requests in some areas, especially in the areas of services, which in substance, fall into the scope of bilateral market access. China will earnestly implement its commitments in bilateral market access negotiations. However, these commitments shall be interpreted accurately and in a manner consistent with the general practice.
After the protracted process of 14 years, China is still making unremitting efforts in its WTO accession negotiations since its WTO accession is in line with China's interests as well as the common interests of the WTO Members. At present, every walk of life in China is making preparations for the WTO accession in an effort to welcome the new stage of China's opening up to the outside world. As the focus of the preparations, China is revising and amending relevant laws, regulations and rules to meet the WTO requirements. This process is being accelerated. For instance, China will finish the drafting the legislation on the protection of layout and design of integrated circuit upon accession. China is not only accelerating the revision of its laws, but also putting more emphasis on the enforcement of laws. The 12-page plan on the IPR protection worked out at this session will ensure the comprehensive implementation of IPR laws and regulations consistent with international practices in China, which will create important conditions for further improving China's investment environment and strengthening China's cooperation with all countries in the world in the field of hi- and new technology. In addition, China has made specified and clear commitments on the administration of import license and licensing procedures of services, which fully demonstrates China's resolution and ability on the earnest implementation of the market access agreements. I believe that through these efforts, more and more WTO Members have confidence on China's sincerity and ability of implementing its WTO commitment. Unfortunately, China still not yet in the position to implement its specified commitments made in the bilateral market access negotiations before China becomes a WTO Member. This is undoubtedly a disappointment to the business communities of other countries. This further proves that the early conclusion of the multilateral negotiations is in the conformity of the interests of all parties.
I would like to emphasize that at the final stage of negotiations, particularly when differences are only on several difficult issues, flexibility should not be only shown by a single party. China is willing to continue work with all of you in a pragmatic and flexible attitude. But China's flexibility will not be meaningful unless it is fully responded by others. I would like to reiterate that China would make its utmost efforts to ensure that its accession is based on the balance between rights and obligations. This is very important for safeguarding the integrity of the multilateral trading system.
It is fair to say that both China and the WTO Members are now clear about our respective positions with regard to the critical elements of the remaining issues. It is time now to make some important political decisions. I hope when we come back to Geneva next time, all the parties concerned will be ready to fulfill the common objective of China's accession to the WTO.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.