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Summers seeks China's entry to WTO to resolve disputes.

BEIJING, Feb. 23 Kyodo

Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said Tuesday China's failure to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) within the next few months could acerbate bilateral trade disputes. U.S.-Chinese disputes will be inevitable if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to grow, Summers told a press conference after a meeting with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji. Summers said he hopes China can join the world trade body during the present ''window of opportunity'' before Zhu's visit to the United States in early April. If an agreement cannot be reached on China's accession to the WTO the window will ''close for a sizable period,'' he said. China's accession to the WTO is in the interests of China and the U.S., and would help resolve disputes over the trade imbalance between the two countries, Summers said. ''The WTO provides a neutral, rule-based forum for the resolution of those disputes,'' he said. Summers said Zhu affirmed that China hopes it can reach a mutually satisfactory agreement over China's entry into the WTO. Summers, who is on an Asian trip after attending a Group of Seven (G-7) finance ministers meeting Saturday, also met Chinese Finance Minister Xiang Huaicheng and Dai Xianglong, the chief of the People's Bank of China, China's central bank. The deputy Treasury secretary will leave on Wednesday for South Korea. He will also visit Japan. Japan, as Asia's largest economy, is still important for Asian and global economic recovery, Summers said. The U.S. hopes that Japan's bank reforms and fiscal stimulatory policies will stimulate domestic demand-led growth and lead to economic recovery, he said. Summers' visit to China will be followed closely by the arrival of U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in preparation for Zhu's trip to the U.S.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 1999
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