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EU firms optimistic on China, hail WTO steps
Updated: 2005-09-04 20:47

BEIJING, Sept 4 - China has done a good job implementing the commitments it made when it joined the World Trade Organisation, according to a survey of European firms released on Sunday. Reuters reported. 

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (R) walks on Wangfujing snack street in Beijing, September 4, 2005. Barroso arrived in Beijing for the eighth EU-China summit on Monday, which will also be attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who currently serves as head of the rotating EU presidency. [newsphoto]
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair arrive at Edinburgh airport to fly to Beijing for the EU summit. Sunday Sept. 4, 2005. Blair hopes to boost Europe's business and cultural ties with two of Asia's booming economic superpowers on a whirlwind four-day visit to China and India. [Reuters]
A poll of firms taken for the European Union Chamber of Commerce's annual position paper found 86 percent of respondents optimistic about business prospects in China, little changed from last year's figure of 90 percent; 61 percent expected to be profitable or very profitable this year, against 64 percent in 2004.

"Chamber members remain positive about conducting business in China," Serge Janssens de Varebeke, the president of the chamber and the chief representative in China of Fortis Bank, told a news conference.

European businesses also gave China high marks for keeping the promises it made upon joining the WTO in 2001.

"In general China has been implementing its WTO commitments on time, and in some instances even ahead of time," de Varebeke said.

He said the basic challenge now was to shift from a strict interpretation of accession requirements to the practical reality of implementing and enforcing commitments.

The report listed an array of concerns in areas from intellectual property rights to financial services. Foreign banks, for instance, face higher capital requirements than Chinese banks.
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