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EU not ready to grant China market status
Updated: 2005-07-14 06:58

Nevertheless, Barroso will face a number of tricky issues in Beijing, including EU nations' failure to agree on lifting a 15-year arms embargo on China, surges in Chinese footwear imports and long-standing human rights concerns.

Australia granted China market status in April, but many of Beijing's other trading partners have held back because of concerns that Chinese authorities still interfere too much in business.

London's Financial Times last week quoted Ian Pearson, Britain's minister of state for trade, as saying his government was talking with its EU partners on the subject. "We in Britain believe China should be granted market economy status," he was quoted as saying during a visit to China.

The market label is a prized commodity. Among other benefits, it allows countries to provide their own evidence when they are accused of price-fixing on the international export market.

As world trade opens up, such accusations are becoming a favorite way of erecting alternative trade barriers.

During Barroso's five-day visit, he planned to meet President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing, and to travel also to Hong Kong and Macao.

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