Bo: WTO consensus worth celebrating
By Teddy Ng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-20 06:27
HONG KONG: The World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference has
achieved some positive results, Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai said yesterday,
but he urged rich nations to make greater concessions.
Speaking after the end of the conference in which ministers reached a
last-minute, but modest, trade deal, Bo said it was worth celebrating since they
had reached consensus on elimination of agricultural export subsidies by 2013
and on non-agricultural market access.
minister Bo Xilai makes a statement during a conference of the sixth World
Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conferences at Hong Kong's Convention
and Exhibition Centre December 14, 2005.
He said the consensus, which some ministers said had paved the way for
completion of the Doha Round, was hard-won.
Bo said several clauses of the ministerial declaration were beneficial to
Bo said the adoption of the Swiss Formula to calculate tariff cuts when
opening market access for non-agricultural products might not necessarily be
detrimental to China.
Some non-governmental organizations suggested that the Swiss Formula, which
means higher tariffs will see higher cuts, was not beneficial to developing
He said the tariffs of some Chinese industrial products were competitive, and
Chinese products might gain access to other markets.
However, Bo said the achievements of Hong Kong conference were not totally
satisfactory, saying concessions made by rich nations were insufficient.
"Developed nations need to make more concessions to narrow the economic gap
between the developed and developing world. The rich nations are not doing
enough and we expect them to come up with more concrete ideas in future
negotiations," he said.
Bo said China made a lot of significant promises when joining the WTO four
years ago, including lowering the tariff for agricultural products and
non-agricultural products by 70 and 80 per cent respectively, and slashing
aggregate measure of support for agricultural products.
"Compared with the promises made by China four years ago, the concessions
made by developed nations in this conference are very limited," he said.
"If European countries and the United States have the courage and spirit of
China, and hold a responsible attitude, the agenda of the conference will be
completed very early," he said.
Bo disagreed that China adopted a low-profile attitude in the conference,
saying China needs to tackle the issues in a pragmatic and calm manner.
He said he was optimistic about the trade relationship between China, the EU
countries and the US, though China might be in disagreement with these countries
over certain products.
Bo estimated that China's gross domestic product would increase by over 9 per
cent this year, and trade surplus is expected to increase.
(China Daily 12/20/2005 page2)