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WTO Doors Open to China. (New Business).

Mexico and China reached a commercial agreement in September, clearing the final obstacle for China to become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Mexico was the last member of the 136-nation club to hold out against China's entry.

As part of the Mexico-Beijing agreement, Mexico agreed to extend its tariffs for just six years, although the country's business representatives had lobbied for the right to extend the tariffs, imposed in 1994, for another 15 years.

Mexican industry leaders have long pointed to China's cheap labor costs, government subsidies and what they claim are shady ploys to maneuver around tariffs as reasons to block its entry into the WTO.

The current tariffs of about 400% apply to some 1,400 Chinese products, most of them in the garment and textile industry, as well as other labor-intensive sectors, including footwear and toys.

Javier Prieto, president of the National Confederation of Industrial Chambers, admitted that many companies in these sectors will have serious difficulties once these tariffs are dropped, and some may even disappear. He and other industry heads reiterated the need for strengthening production chains and the internal market in order to be able to compete.
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Publication:Business Mexico
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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