08 April 1998
Chinese WTO membership ‘unlikely’ this year

CHINESE membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was unlikely this year despite Beijings offer to cut tariffs on more than 6,000 industrial products.

The Chinese overture cuts the average duty on these products from 15% made in its previous offer to just under 11%.

Its the first comprehensive offer Beijing has made in 11 years to reduce tariffs, but still falls short of expectations, according to western trade officials.

They are disappointed that their specific demands have not been yet, namely the reduction of very high tariffs. For example, imports of homecare products would attract duties of 30-35%, while photo film and cars would face tariffs of up to 50%.

Agricultural trade is yet to be discussed, and Chinese leaders are balking at western demands for greater access to Chinas banking, insurance, accounting and other financial services.

  • Financial Times 08/04/98 page 4