China Complains over Bid to Block WTO Accession
China is growing impatient over attempts by some members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to block its entry into the Geneva-based body, state media reported on Friday.
"Some members are trying to seize the opportunity to profiteer in this last phase," Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng said, according to the China Daily. "I don't think many people will appreciate this."
The paper did not name the WTO members accused of stalling Chinese accession, but said Switzerland and Mexico were the only two countries that had not yet clinched agreements with China.
Of the two, Mexico had declared its support for Chinese membership, and was expected to sign a deal soon, the paper said.
The Swiss embassy in Beijing denied that Switzerland was posing an obstacle to Chinese membership of the Geneva-based organization.
"Our policy is very clear. Switzerland is very positive towards WTO membership for China," said Jurg Lauber, a trade councillor at the embassy.
Switzerland and China began bilateral negotiations on Chinese WTO membership late last year, after the landmark Sino-US pact on WTO accession was reached in November.
Western diplomats in Beijing said earlier this year that they expected Switzerland to reach an agreement with China soon after a Sino-EU pact had been inked.
More than two months after Chinese and EU negotiators concluded their talks, China and Switzerland have not yet come to a solution.
The two countries conducted their last round of talks in July, and the main remaining sticking points include China's opening of its financial services markets for banking and finance, Lauber said.
The next round of Sino-Swiss talks will take place in September, when a Chinese team including Long Yongtu, the country's chief WTO negotiator, goes to Geneva.
While the main purpose of the team's visit is to engage in multilateral talks on Chinese entry into the WTO, it will also be a chance for bilateral meetings with Swiss negotiators.
"I am pretty confident that by then an agreement will be reached," said Lauber. "It will in no way postpone or hinder Chinese accession to the WTO." -- BEIJING (AFP)
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