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China fulfills WTO commitments
Updated: 2004-12-12 11:41

Foreign businesses in China have said that China has kept the commitments it made joining the World Trade Organization three years ago and been a "responsible" member.

China became a member of the WTO on December 11, 2001 after 15 years of negotiations. Following its accession, it has reduced tariffs, opened markets and revised its laws in accordance with its commitments.

China has lowered its general tariffs level from 15.6 percent in 2000 to 10.6 percent in 2004. They will be further lowered to 10.1 percent in 2005. The tariffs for automobiles, in particular, were 80 percent to 100 percent before China's accession to the WTO. They were 43.8 percent in 2002 and will drop to 25 percent next year.

China has also provided more market accession for foreign investors in banking, securities, distribution, legal services, tourism and education.

In the banking sector, for instance, more than 60 foreign banks from 20 countries and regions have opened businesses in China. More than 80 banks have started China's local currency renminbi business.

China has revised more than 2,300 national laws and regulations that ran counter to WTO rules.

Those efforts have won positive comments from foreign businesses in China.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a press release this week that China is "substantively in compliance" with its WTO commitments.

Elmar Stachels of the Bayer Group said China has kept its commitments in reducing tariffs, opening markets and its protection of intellectual property rights, and improved its transparency in policy making. This has boosted the confidence of foreign investors.

Alfred Wewers, chairman of the German Chamber of Commerce in China and also chief China representative of ThyssenKrupp, a world leading producer of steel and industrial goods and services, said China has been making much progress in optimizing trade and investment environment in recent years.

Some foreign businesses though, such as the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said China needs to work harder to protect intellectual property rights.

The past three years have seen tremendous increases in foreign business presence in China.

During the past three years, China's foreign trade volume has doubled. The total value of imports and exports in the first eleven months of the year has surpassed US$1 trillion, a previous record.

Overseas investment in China reached US$1.06 trillion in contractual volume by October this year and materialized overseas investment volume was US$555.25 billion.

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China keeping WTO promises