Chinese and EU trade officials fail to solve WTO problems
Chinese and European Union trade officials held talks here Tuesday to address problems in the Sino-EU trade deal for China's WTO membership, but they failed to reach a solution, diplomats told AFP.
EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and Chinese Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Shi Guangsheng, the chief negotiators of May's bilateral deal, held several hours of talks, said the sources.
The EU is concerned that China has only granted European insurers two of the seven new licenses promised within 60 days of May's trade deal, while China is insisting it did not sign any document agreeing to the timeframe.
Lamy told reporters after Monday's China-EU summit meeting in Beijing that China only wanted to give out the new licenses after it had formally joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).
French President Jacques Chirac said after the summit that China had "technical" reservations about granting the new insurance licenses but that Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji had promised to clear up the matter.
He insisted China must honor the commitments it made in May's bilateral trade deal.
Other issues hanging over the Sino-EU trade deal concern intellectual copyright, the transparency of the judicial system and subsidies for state-owned enterprises.
The diplomatic sources said a new round of talks would likely take place in November to iron out the remaining problems, and that Lamy had left for Beijing airport to take a flight back to Brussels.
China's 14-year bid for membership of the WTO is entering the final phase — it only needs to seal a bilateral trade deal with Mexico and complete multilateral accession talks at WTO headquarters in Geneva.— (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)