15 November 1999
China slashes import tariffs

By FWi staff

CHINA is said to have agreed to cut import tariffs on agricultural goods to 14.5-15%.

U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky said Beijing agreed to this in its historic World Trade Organisation agreement, according to Yahoo! News.

A US statement said earlier that China had pledged to make more-than-average duty cuts on agricultural items of particular interest to the United States.

Beijing had agreed to cut its average tariff level to 17% from 22.1%, the statement said.

Earlier history was made when Chinese and American negotiators signed a deal to pave the way for China to join the WTO.

This will involve a major opening of Chinas markets and strengthen the legitimacy of the world trading system.

A deal would give China, the worlds ninth largest exporter, non-discriminatory access to markets around the world and boost foreign investment in the country.

However, the move could lead to a sharp increase in unemployment in China as inefficient state industries take on overseas competitors.

The China-WTO agreement clears the way for China to join the WTO in time for the next round of global talks in Seattle at the end of the month.

To join the WTO China would need agreements with key trading partners, especially the USA and the EU.