Lamy: China fulfilling WTO commitments well
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-09-06 09:18

Pascal Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), is on a four-day visit to China that ends on Friday. In an interview yesterday in Beijing, he spoke to China Daily reporters Zhang Xiaogang and Xu Binglan, and Caijing Magazine reporters Lou Yi and Wang Feng. Following are excerpts of the interview transcript.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy

Q: Are you happy with China's implementation of its WTO accession commitment?

A: Overall yes. Not a hundred per cent. China's implementation of its accession commitments has been reviewed by all the WTO, by all members. And the result is that overall the record is good. There are worries like intellectual property, subsidies in the manufacturing sector. But overall the picture we get from what the governments say is good. We just had a meeting with European businesses this morning. And that's also what they say.

It (the accession commitment) has been taken very seriously by the Chinese authorities, the leadership. Obviously, there is a sort of sense (among Chinese officials) that China has to live up to its commitment and a country like China cannot afford to be criticized on this.

In everyday life, there will be problems. Some barriers have disappeared. But there are activities here and there to reinvent them in more clever (ways). If you like, the US and the EU, they are also sometimes in the game. But overall, it (China) has broad-based change. The synergy between WTO accession and the reform process has worked.

Q:How much likelihood is there for the Doha Round to be resumed?

A: We are testing the political will to resume. The negotiations bumped into an obstacle in July. There is a disproportion between the size of the difference in negotiating positions and the political will to conclude.

What we are doing for the moment is checking the level of the political will in the system at venues such as the IMF-World Bank meeting in Singapore later this month. My sense is that the will is there. They all would have a big problem with the failure of the round. It is clearer than it used to be. You are on the verge of a big hole and you don't want to fall into that big hole. It is a necessary condition, although it is not a sufficient one.

Once this is confirmed, this will have to be translated into changes of position because it is also a necessity if the negotiation did not work on where it broke, which is agriculture. It can only succeed if the negotiation resumes there and new positions appear around the table. This probably needs effort from various players.

Q: You said you will listen to what member countries say at international meetings to make judgment about their political will for the resumption of the Doha Round negotiation. But I am wondering how reliable are the statements? During the previous international conferences like the G8 summit, leaders always promised they will push for the progress of the Doha Round, but when the trade officials are at the negotiating tables, they still balked at an ambitious agreement.

A: That is precisely what we need to test the political will for. You need to clarify political will after what happened. They know what happened. They know why it happened. So it is transparent now. It's on the table. If we register enough with expression of political will in the coming month, it will be more valuable.

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