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APEC calls for China's entry to WTO by Seattle meeting.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Sept. 8 Kyodo

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum members are considering calling for the conclusion of negotiations on the accession of both China and Taiwan to the World Trade Organization (WTO) before its ministerial meeting late this year, APEC sources said Tuesday.

A draft document circulated among senior APEC officials proposed they urge their ministers to "note the progress that has been achieved in the negotiations on the accession to the WTO of China and Chinese Taipei and call for the conclusion of these negotiations at the earliest opportunity, if possible before the third WTO Ministerial Meeting in Seattle" from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3.

The document was circulated by New Zealand, the host of the APEC ministerial meeting and leaders' summit that will take place from Sept. 9 to 13.

The sources said senior officials had discussed the report on APEC's contribution to the WTO during their preparatory meeting on Tuesday, and did not object to this part of the report.

They said it is significant that China and Taipei were specifically mentioned in the draft report, which is to be finalized by the officials for endorsement by the ministers.

They expressed confidence that the United States and China will reach a settlement on the issue of China's entry to the WTO during the meeting between U.S. President Bill Clinton and Chinese leader Jiang Zemin expected to take place later in the week.

A Taiwanese official said there was a "consensus" among the senior officials to recommend to the ministers calling for accession by both China and Taiwan to the Geneva-based global trade body probably before the WTO ministerial meeting. He also said there was no objection from the officials.

The report also urged "an acceleration...in the accession negotiations of other APEC members in accordance with WTO rules and based on commercially viable market access commitments."

APEC members Russia and Vietnam have also not yet obtained WTO membership.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Sep 13, 1999
Words:324
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