Ruggiero's speeches, 1995-99
Moore welcomes progress on China accession to WTO
am pleased to lead the Chinese delegation to the 16th Session of the
Working Party on China's Accession to the WTO.
the outstanding leadership of the Chairman and with the full support
of the Secretariat, we have reached full consensus on the major
remaining issues during this Session through the joint efforts of all
parties concerned. Thus, we have completed the substantial
negotiations at this Session, which will become a turning point in the
long process of China's WTO accession.
days from today, China's accession negotiations to the multilateral
trading system will enter the 15th year. During this 15-year
historical process, and in this building and at some other places in
the world, we have discussed numerous issues and texts, encountered
differences and difficulties, experienced frustration and bewilderment
and also shared the happiness for the consensus and agreements
reached. When we concentrate on the details of the negotiations, we
may often ignore the significance of this process itself. Now, when we
see the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming more and more close
to us, we have full reason to pull ourselves out of these details
temporarily and to have a look of the picture we have been drawing
together. China, with one-fourth of the world population, has
demonstrated to the world by the protracted negotiations in the past
15 years that China is unswervingly implementing the basic national
policy of reform and opening-up. The protracted negotiations are not
solely for the accession to the WTO, more importantly, we believe that
China's accession will facilitate China's reform and opening-up. The
historic experience has shown to us that adhering to reform and to
opening-up is absolutely the only way for a country to develop itself
and to make its people realize happiness and prosperity. Certainly,
China's WTO accession is also in the interest of all WTO Members as
well as the multilateral trading system represented by the WTO. Since
China's accession benefits China and the WTO Members, there is no
reason to doubt whether China would firmly implement its commitments
made in the negotiations.
confident that we would not have to wait for another 15 years before
the history proves the significance of the efforts made here for China
and for the rest of the world.
we have emphasized consistently at various occasions in the past,
although great progress has been made on China's economic development
in the past two decades, we still firmly believe that China is a
developing country. The position we have taken to accede to the WTO as
a developing country is not only a reflection of the actual economic
level of China at the present stage, but also our political choice. It
has been one of the basic principles we stick to in the negotiations
of the past 15 years. However, we have taken a pragmatic attitude
towards the various treatments for the developing countries as
embodied in the WTO agreements and practices. We have made specific
commitments in different areas in light of our national situation,
development level and capacity to implement these commitments.
some important areas, we insist on undertaking obligations in
consistency with our own development level. We have rejected the
request to reduce our average tariff level to that of developed
countries and insisted that China's average tariff level should be
comparable to the average level of the developing countries. In
service areas, we insisted that we can not offer to open our market as
a developed country and we can only base our commitments on the degree
of market opening of the developing countries.
some areas, however, where China has already had the capability to
implement the obligations as all WTO Members, we deem not necessary
for China to enjoy preferential treatments to the developing countries
as provided for in the relevant WTO agreements. For instance, the
TRIPS Agreement provides a 5-year transitional period for developing
countries. Since the Chinese government has been working hard to raise
the IPR protection level by improving the legal system and enhancing
law-enforcement, we have already obtained the capability of
implementing the TRIPS Agreement fully. We, therefore, decided not to
insist on the access to the transitional period. However, when we
noted some developing countries are requesting for an extended
transitional period due to their limitation on IPR protection, we
support their request because of we believe that their request is
reasonable. This is the approach that we have taken to deal with this
matter—the approach of addressing different issues according to
their specific situations.
its accession to the WTO, China is determined to play a positive and
constructive role in this organization. China supports the launching
of a new round of multilateral trade negotiations, in order to
establish an open and fair world trading system and an equitable world
economic order. We maintain that in the new round of negotiations, the
interests of all countries, developing counties in particular, should
be fully taken into account. All parities should join hands to handle
complicated contradictions and meet all challenges in a pragmatic,
balancing and creative spirit, so as to maintain the vigor and
vitality of the multilateral trading system.
going through this long negotiation process, we know it is still not
the time for celebration, and there is still a lot of work before us.
The Chinese government supports the early convening of the 17th
Session of the Working Party. I'm planning to stay in Geneva together
with some of my colleagues, to prepare and participate in the next
Session held on July 16. I hope that, under your leadership, we could
finally conclude our preparation of all the legal documents on China's
accession to the WTO at that time.
I would like to, on behalf of the Chinese government, to express our
appreciation to you, to Mr. Ravier, to the Chairmen of the plurilatral
groups, to all the members of the Working Party as well as to the
Secretariat. And we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all
the delegates who have given their understanding and support to China
in the negotiation process.
you, Mr. Chairman.