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Thailand concedes China `market economy' status
By Hu Qihua (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-22 00:22

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced Monday that Thailand has chosen to recognize China's status as a full market economy.

Thaksin made the announcement in his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, calling on additional countries to do the same.

Wen expressed thanks and appreciation to the Thai Government.

Just last week, Kyrgyzstan became the fourth country to officially recognize China as a market economy.

The others are New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akayev handed over a written document to Chinese President Hu Jintao in Tashkentto confirm the move.

The two presidents met on the sideline of the summit meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization.

Akayev said China has established a complete market economic system after a quarter century of reforms and opening up to the outside world. He added that the process accelerated after China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Market economy status is a valuable legal and trade appellation with implications on so-called dumping matters, a major issue in the West.

Although China is accepted by the WTO as a market economy in general terms, protocol on China's accession to the WTO allows other members to treat China as a non-market economy in dumping and subsidy cases for 15 years after its entry.

Statistics show that during the past year, a record 59 dumping and subsidy cases were filed against Chinese goods, with a value of over US$2.2 billion.

Experts warned that negotiations with the EU and US for market economy status will be lengthy and costly.

Zhou Shijian, a China-EU Research Centre adviser, said China is a market economy for 98 per cent of its commodities that are priced according to market demand and supply.

"Those enterprises operate independently, without the control of government," Zhou said.

The EU has granted about 20 Chinese enterprises the "market economy treatment'' since 1999, according to Zhou, saying it is an "encouraging'' step in Sino-EU trade and economic co-operation.

Both sides expressed their goal "to become each other's largest trade and investment partner.''

President of the European Commission Romano Prodi told the reporters during his visit to China last October that there are no "major differences'' between the two sides on whether to grant China "full market economy status,'' saying that he himself was very "confident'' about the prospects.

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