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ENTRY OF CHINA INTO WTO
AND ITS IMPLICATIONS

   "I encourage you, both government and business, to do more to promote Macau's competitive strengths to Americans and other potential international business partners, as China ascends to the WTO," Mr Klosson said.

    Professor Shen Boming from Guangzhou underlined China's rights and obligations after accession to the WTO. According to the academic, the rights include GSP treatment and "preferences as a developing country having the possibility of adopting exceptional and protective provisions".

    The obligations include lower tariffs and strengthened intellectual property rights protection.

    Professor Shen said WTO membership would promote economic and legal reforms in China, benefit consumers and accelerate the development of services industries in the Mainland.

    Frank Martin, president of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hong Kong, said his organisation was of the view that "China's accession to the WTO and full integration into the world economy-while fraught with challenges - overall will be beneficial to the Mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, the United States and other global trading partners."

    Mr Martin stressed, however, that "both Hong Kong and Macau will need to turn challenges into opportunities by strengthening their competitive edge - including close cultural and language ties, well established contacts and networks, experience and knowledge - to help facilitate increase trade and investment with the Mainland."

    "Ultimately, China's accession to the WTO will bring further improvements to the Mainland's economic development," Mr Martin concluded.

    David Ting, who heads the European Commission's Office in Hong Kong and Macau, presented a concise list of the highlights of the European Union's recent agreement with China on the latter's accession to the WTO. According to Mr Ting, "the EU-China agreement still represents China's further concessions over and above the Sino-U.S. agreement" on the issue.

    The European Union's agreement with China covers telecommunications, insurance, monopoly state import/export restrictions, tariffs, motor vehicles, distribution, agriculture and so-called "horizontal measures," such as Beijing's pledge to abolish preferences to domestic producers in the fields of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, after-sales services, cigarettes and spirits.

    Professor Xavier Pintado of the Catholic University of Portugal presented a detailed study, entitled "Lessons from History and Economic Research, and the Reforms Needed," on the prospects of China's accession to the WTO.

    Prof. Pintado, who wrapped up the conference, likened China's entry into the WTO to "a window of opportunity." However, he acknowledged that the move "will also impose a good deal of pain to China, especially in the short-term, requiring major institutional reforms. Enforcement of the agreement will meet many difficulties, and it will have consequences on virtually all sectors of the economy, involving costly adjustments in many industries, namely in steel, machinery, chemicals, automobiles and consumer electronics."

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