Ruggiero's speeches, 1995-99
by H.E. Vice Minister LONG Yongtu, Head of the Chinese
I welcome you all to this formal meeting of the Working
Party on China's accession to the WTO, which concludes
the work we have been engaged in for the past week. As
has been our tradition on these occasions, I would like
to take this opportunity to offer to you my overall
perception of where matters stand.
On earlier occasions, I have laid out quite clearly the
task we have set ourselves. In brief, this is to address
the total accession package of China in order to conclude
these negotiations expeditiously. I have also spelt out
on several occasions what this total package constitutes,
and we all know full well that there is a great deal of
substantive and technical work which lies ahead.
Accordingly, there is a need to maintain, and indeed
accelerate, the present momentum.
In addressing this total package, we have taken up the
eight outstanding multilateral subjects remaining from
the subject-by-subject testing process I have been
conducting since November. This time again, we have
continued the process, once again to encouraging results.
Through this process, we have succeeded in circulating a
multilaterally viable text in yet another important area:
product specific safeguards. Progress has also been
registered in other areas, i.e. NTM's and anti-dumping.
Yet problems still remain. However, I believe they will
rapidly fall into place once breakthroughs occur in other
subjects which are of central political and trade concern
to China and members.
And this brings me to an even more important development
that has occurred during this week. For the first time a
firm acknowledgement has emerged that it is time to focus
attention on achieving political breakthroughs and texts
in a collection of core areas. Some of these core areas
are agriculture, industrial subsidies, TBT, trading
rights, and services. Because of the inter-linkages
involved, intensive consultations have been taking place
with a view to achieving textual breakthroughs. I am sure
that it was everyone's desire to see this session
concluding these matters now. However, it is clear that
more time is needed for capitals to adjust their
positions and approach the issues afresh. As a result, we
have no texts on these areas to discuss at this stage.
This certainly should not be taken negatively. On the
contrary, I am convinced that this development has
brought us very close to the end. Indeed, this session
marks a watershed in China's accession.
Our work has set a very clear road map for the future. As
to procedure, I propose we continue with our present
working methods, firstly taking up and concluding the
outstanding plurilateral issues and then going on to
clean up the draft Report and Protocol and its Annexes,
as well as finalising the market access schedules in
goods and services.
We should ensure that when we meet next we have all the
necessary inputs available to at least conclude the
substantive part of our negotiations. These inputs are
both substantive and technical. On the substantive side,
I am referring, of course, to texts that can serve as a
basis for achieving the multilateral agreements we need,
and also the conclusion of China's pending bilateral
market access agreements with WTO Members. On the
technical side too, there are inputs required by the
Secretariat in order to assist us in rapidly finalising
China's market access schedules in goods and services. I
have been repeatedly bringing this matter to your
attention. Timely action here would go a long way in
helping us to conclude several of the outstanding
Overall, I feel that none of the outstanding problems are
insurmountable. In each case the political decisions are
now very clear and unambiguous. I consider that this
session has been a successful one in sharply defining the
political decisions needed.
I have also noted the determination of China and Members
to carry forward the work with intensity and commitment.
It is this that encourages me to say that we can look
forward to another meeting of this Working Party in the
not too distant future, possibly in late February or
March 2001. The inputs I have just described will be
essential to make this meeting a conclusive success. We
shall be in close touch with delegations in respect of
developments, and based on these consultations we will
proceed to fix the timing and agenda of the next meeting
of the Working Party.