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US-China settlement on WTO welcomed.

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Trade News


Mark Vaile

Trade Minister

Deputy Leader of the National Party


Tuesday, November 16, 1999



US-China settlement on WTO welcomed


Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, has welcomed the announcement by China and the US that agreement had been re ached on all outstanding Issues between them for China’s bid for membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).


“This breakthrough, following the period of uncertainty in the negotiations since April 1999, would re-establish the momentum necessary to conclude the whole negotiation so that China could become a member in 2000.” Mr Vaile said.


“China’s WTO membership would unlock many additional trading opportunities for Australia worth many hundreds of millions of dollars annually over the next five years as China implements its membership obligations.”


The benefits for Australia would be widely spread over agriculture, manufacturing and service industries. China’s entry to the WTO would be of special importance in rural and regional Australia because tariffs and barriers on key exports such as wool, wheat, sugar, beef, lamb, dairy, cotton, oliseeds, rice, horticulture, processed foods would come down. China’s average tariff on agricultural products would come down to 14.5 per cent by 2004.


“Tariffs on imported beef would come down from 45 to just over 10 per cent. Tariffs on a range of processed foods would fail from the current 50 to 12 per cent, while tariffs on wine would be slashed from 65 to around 20 per cent.


“There would also be major benefits for exports of auto and auto parts, minerals, machinery and financial, telecommunications, professional and educational services Tariffs on manufactured goods would fall from an average of 24.6 per cent to 10 per cent or less.”


Mr Vaile said he looked forward to the release of details of the US-China settlement so that the extent of improved and more predictable access to the growing Chinese market could be fully assessed.


Australia has consistently supported China’s membership of the WTO and would be working hard with other WTO members to resolve all outstanding Issues remaining to be settled in a timely fashion so that China could take up membership in the WTO early in 2000.


“Australia has reached its settlement with China in May 1999”, Mr Vaile said.


C ontact: Bruce Mills 02 6277 7420



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