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U.S., China Meet on WTO Bid

June 5, 2001

SHANGHAI, China (AP) _ Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials reported no progress in talks Tuesday on Beijing’s effort to join the World Trade Organization, but China said they would meet again this week.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Chinese Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng met for an hour during a conference of trade officials of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

``The two sides exchanged viewpoints on the issues of APEC meetings, U.S.-Chinese trade issues and negotiations on China’s entry into the WTO,″ Shi told reporters afterward.

Zoellick wouldn’t speak to reporters, and Shi did not give any details except say the two sides would have more discussions in the next few days.

The United States has endorsed China for membership in the WTO, but the two sides disagree over agricultural subsidies and other issues.

China’s entry has been delayed by its insistence on being allowed to subsidize up to 10 percent of its farm output. Washington and other governments want the rate set at the 5 percent limit for developed economies.

A compromise worked out in Shanghai would have set the stage for renewed multilateral WTO talks due to take place in Geneva.

The global trade body announced Tuesday that the working party on Chinese membership will hold a formal session June 28-July 4 to look at outstanding issues.

Next month sees the 15th anniversary of China’s formal application to join the WTO’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

The WTO currently has 141 members, with another 29 waiting to join.

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