Officials to discuss Doha Round

Original Publication Date: 
22 August, 2006

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab will start her first visit to China on Sunday, during which she will hold high-level discussions on efforts to restart the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Doha Round.

Schwab is expected to meet Commerce Minister Bo Xilai, according to her office.

Many developing countries are concerned that if they open their markets they will be swamped with Chinese goods, Schwab told US media on Friday, adding that China must show developing countries it will open its own market to help lift them out of poverty.

China is keen to see a resumption of the WTO Doha Round, but "substantial concessions from developed countries" are required in order to break the ice, said Jin Bosheng, a researcher at the China Academy of International Trade and Economic Co-operation.

He blamed the suspension of the talks on the entrenched position of developed economies  particularly the United States and the European Union  towards government agricultural subsidies and the opening of agricultural markets.

The negotiations were suspended in late July after Australia, Brazil, the European Union, India, Japan and the United States failed to reach a consensus on agricultural and industrial trade.

The talks were regarded by many as a unique opportunity to boost growth and ease global poverty.

Schwab will also urge China to make more progress in the enforcement of intellectual property rights and increase access for US goods and services.

Washington was reportedly considering lodging a complaint against China at the WTO over Beijing's enforcement of anti-piracy laws, estimating that US firms lose billions of dollars in China every year due to fake goods.

But the trade representative said she hoped that United States would not be required to pursue this course of action.

"Quite frankly, I'd rather not litigate in the World Trade Organization," she said.

"I would rather have China fix the problem, whether it's a market access problem or a problem related to intellectual property or so on," she told C-Span television.

The United States, together with the European Union, filed a complaint at the WTO against China for tariff policies that they claim discriminate against foreign auto parts.

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