世界貿易組織為大陸的申請訂立 approval day
2001-09-05
The International Herald Tribune
WTO Sets Approval Date For China's
Application

Thomas Crampton International Herald Tribune
Tuesday, September 4, 2001


Trade Group to Accept Taiwan the Following Day

HONG KONG China will clear the final hurdle for admission into
the World Trade Organization late next week, with Taiwan
receiving approval for membership the following day, sources
close to the negotiations said Tuesday.

The Geneva-based trade organization's working group on China is
expected to approve the country's membership application on
Sept. 13. A separate working group is expected to approve
Taiwan's entry the next day.

Barring any last-minute hitches, China will end its 15-year
fight for full membership to the world's largest trade grouping
before the end of this year.

After the working group gives its stamp of approval next week,
the 142 members of the WTO would formalize the agreements at
their ministerial-level conference in Qatar in early November.
China and Taiwan would then ratify the accords in their own
countries and formally become members of the organization 30
days later.

China's membership in the WTO is expected to attract a flood of
new foreign investment and further open the economy of the
world's most populous nation. Most economists predict that the
WTO-induced changes will be positive, but some China observers
fear that the stress of rapid economic growth will make it
difficult for the government to maintain control.

"The economic strains brought by membership to the World Trade
Organization will bring enough economic dislocation to topple
the government of China within five years of accession," said
Gordon Chang, author of the recently published book "The Coming
Collapse of China."

"Large multinationals are blinded by the massive population of
consumers and fail to see the political risks," he said.

Among the most contentious issues in negotiations over the last
few months have been advantages long accorded U.S. companies
operating in China's retailing and insurance sectors, to which
European companies object.

There were also hard-fought battles over the level at which
China would be allowed to subsidize its farmers, who will soon
be faced with a flood of cheap produce from world markets.

China's 900 million rural residents have already endured
long-term economic hardship as China's coastal provinces have
undergone rapid economic transformation. Escaping tough times,
many farmers have migrated to urban centers, causing large-scale
social disruption.

To cushion the farmers, China originally insisted on subsidies
equivalent to 10 percent of the country's agricultural output,
while the United States pressed Beijing to accept a level of 5
percent. The two sides compromised at 8.5 percent.

The long negotiations have resulted in reams of documentation.
China's admission required negotiating 42 separate bilateral
agreements and the final documentation takes up 800 pages of
single-spaced type, including 650 pages of fine print listing
individual tariffs. Taiwan's agreement runs 1,200 pages with
1,000 pages of tariff agreements.

Copyright 2001 The International Herald Tribune