China to help revive global trade talks
By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-09-06 07:06

China is ready to work with other World Trade Organization (WTO) members to revive stalled global trade talks, Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday.

Premier Wen Jiabao meets visiting WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday. [China Daily]

He also urged rich nations to make concessions by reducing subsidies and lowering tariffs in agriculture during a meeting with WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy in Beijing.

"Developed countries should take the lead in making substantial concessions on such key issues as reducing agricultural subsidies and tariffs," he said.

In an interview with China Daily in Beijing yesterday, the WTO chief said agriculture was the biggest thorn in the negotiations.

"But in agricultural subsidies, China has fewer problems than others," he said. "China gives much less in subsidies to its farmers than the United States and the European Union. China's agricultural and industrial tariffs are much lower than in India or Brazil."

The Doha Round was meant to dismantle worldwide barriers in agricultural and industrial trade.

However, on July 24, Lamy was forced to halt five years of negotiations on the Fourth WTO Ministerial Doha Round that began in Doha, Qatar in November, 2001 and ended for now, at least in Geneva, Switzerland.

The talks broke down because developed countries wanted greater market access to the services and industrial products sector in developing nations.

Developing nations, in turn, want rich nations to cut farm tariffs and subsidies so they can export more agricultural products.

Wen said China is "concerned over the suspension of the Doha Round of talks" and appealed for the resumption of the talks as soon as possible.

"It is of great significance to complete the Doha Round of negotiations for promoting a fair, just and open multilateral trade system," he added.

"China supports a multilateral trading system and opposes trade protectionism. It is ready to work with related parties to strive for the early resumption of negotiations," Wen told Lamy.

Lamy arrived in Beijing on Monday on a four-day visit that is also expected to include stopovers in Shanghai and in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian Province for an investment forum.

His visit coincides with a series of events to mark the fifth anniversary of China's entry to the WTO, which falls in December this year.

Speaking to Wen, Lamy said China is an active participant in the negotiations and "we hope the Chinese side can play an even bigger role" in resuscitating the negotiations as well as promoting the talks to reach consensus.

"Since China joined the WTO in December 2001, it has been honouring its commitments to the WTO and adjusting its foreign trade policies in line with the WTO rules," Wen said.

(China Daily 09/06/2006 page1)


Related Stories