Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, March 30, 1999 Published at 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK

Business: The Economy

China's WTO bid 'still faces hurdles'

US Commerce Secretary Daley meets Chinese PM Zhu Rongji in Beijing

Major differences still remain between China and the United States over Beijing's bid to enter the World Trade Organisation (WTO) according to US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky.

[ image: US trade representative Charlene Barshefsky: Gaps remain]
US trade representative Charlene Barshefsky: Gaps remain
Her fleeting one-day visit to Beijing on Tuesday had boosted hopes that a deal was not far away.

But after a day of talks with Chinese officials she said: "Substantial gaps remain ... in critical areas of trade and there are complex issues in front of us."

However Ms Barshefsky said that important progress had been made and further negotiations would continue.

"The United States will set no artificial deadlines in these negotiations. Progress will only be driven by substance," she added.

Hurdles to overcome

US Commerce Secretary William Daley, who is currently in China on a five-day visit, said he was confident the country would become a member of the World Trade Organisation before the organisation starts a new round of negotiations later this year.

But he echoed that a lot of hard work had still to be done in Sino-US negotiations: "This idea that somehow we're half an inch away from concluding WTO is absolutely wrong.

"I think the real difficulties in the negotiations is the financial services, very serious," he said.

Mr Daley said Washington would not be hurried into a less than satisfactory deal and was under no pressure to finalise one before the US visit of China's Prime Minister Zhu Rongji next week.

He said: "We want this to be done. We want to see the right deal. But we have been adamant for six years now that we would not be forced into a deal that may not be the right sort of deal."

Trade concessions

China, which has been pressing to join the WTO for 13 years, has reportedly offered more concessions in the last three weeks than it has in the last three years.

After years of resisting calls that it must open up its markets first, Beijing has offered concessions in several sectors.

Duncan Hewitt reports from Beijing
China has said it will liberalise the telecommunications sector, allow foreign firms to compete with China Telecom and widen the scope for competition in mobile phones.

It may be prepared to accept wheat exports from the United States, which have been blocked for years, and the government has also pledged greater access by foreign firms to the financial services sector, including banking and insurance.

China is the second-largest trading partner of the United States, and last year chalked up a trade surplus of about $60bn, up from $49.7bn in 1997.

The US government blames closed markets in China for the trade imbalance, which Mr Daley called "politically unsustainable".

He said the overriding objective of his visit to China was to expand US exports: "With a one billion dollar a week trade deficit, it's critical to get more of our products in the mainstream of China's economy."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

The Economy Contents

Relevant Stories

15 Mar 99 | The Economy
China to bend for WTO deal

24 Feb 99 | The Economy
China presses for trade club admission

06 Jan 99 | The Economy
No 1999 cheer for China

09 Jul 98 | Economy Reports
WTO: Guardian of free trade

Internet Links

World Trade Organisation

US Department of Commerce

US Trade Representative

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Inquiry into energy provider loyalty

Brown considers IMF job

Chinese imports boost US trade gap

No longer Liffe as we know it

The growing threat of internet fraud

House passes US budget

Online share dealing triples

Rate fears as sales soar

Brown's bulging war-chest

Oil reaches nine-year high

UK unemployment falls again

Trade talks deadlocked

US inflation still subdued

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Bank considered bigger rate rise

UK pay rising 'too fast'

Utilities face tough regulation

CBI's new chief named

US stocks hit highs after rate rise

US Fed raises rates

UK inflation creeps up

Row over the national shopping basket

Military airspace to be cut

TUC warns against following US

World growth accelerates

Union merger put in doubt

Japan's tentative economic recovery

EU fraud costs millions

CBI choice 'could wreck industrial relations'

WTO hails China deal

US business eyes Chinese market

Red tape task force

Websites and widgets

Guru predicts web surge

Malaysia's economy: The Sinatra Principle

Shell secures Iranian oil deal

Irish boom draws the Welsh

China deal to boost economy

US dream scenario continues

Japan's billion dollar spending spree