China said Sunday it was set to hold talks with Mexico on the sidelines of an APEC forum here to try to iron out differences blocking its entry to the World Trade Organization.
Mexico is the only member of the Geneva-based WTO with which China has not completed bilateral talks to enable its long-awaited accession to the global trade body.
"China and Mexico are trying to arrange a meeting," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said in Brunei as ministers from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held talks.
"It won't be today, but probably some time in the coming days," Zhang said.
Chinese Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng, who arrived here late Saturday, is also likely to meet Charlene Barshefsky, the US trade representative, the spokeswoman added.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin is scheduled to meet US President Bill Clinton on the sidelines of the Brunei meeting on Thursday, at the end of a two-day APEC leaders' summit.
Vice Foreign Trade Minister Zhang Xiang said last month that China and Mexico were very close to agreement.
Talks in Geneva are attempting to place China's bilateral commitments into an overall "multilateral accession protocol," to ensure that countries that did not negotiate bilateral deals with China enjoy the same commercial concessions.
The Chinese government said Thursday that progress had been made in the Geneva talks, marking a "critical step forward" towards its accession to the WTO.
China clinched a critical bilateral WTO agreement with the United States a year ago, and with the European Union last month -- BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (AFP)
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