U.S. trade official seeks China's support for Doha negotiations

2008-03-20 08:34:32 Xinhua English

BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab on Thursday called for China's support for a successful conclusion of the Doha Round this year.

Schwab was in Beijing for talks with newly-appointed Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming on speeding up the Doha Round.

She is scheduled to call upon new Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan on Friday to discuss bilateral trade issues, including bilateral mechanisms of the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) and the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), as well as other trade activities.

She listed agriculture, manufacturing and services as the three areas of market access under the Doha negotiations as the core of her talks with China and key to a breakthrough. Both sides had stated a desire to see a successful conclusion of the Doha Round in 2008, Schwab said.

"While we have some differences of opinion, we also had key shared goals for the outcome of the Doha Round," she said.

Schwab foresaw a ministerial meeting within next four to eight weeks in Geneva, to prepare for the Doha Round. She had in-depth discussions with Chen on a number of key issues, including market access to the agriculture, financial services, insurance, banking and securities sectors as well as the protection of intellectual property rights.

She also referred to the use of dispute resolution under the World Trade Organization, saying both sides prefer not to use the resolution unless dialogue failed.

While calling for China's support to push forward the Doha process, she said, "There is a range of areas where the United States is prepared to make concessions."

The Doha Round of trade negotiations, which was launched in 2001 with the aim of bringing down trade barriers to promote development, has been stalled due to disagreements over farm subsidies and import tariffs.

Developing countries have been pressing for an end to farm subsidies in developed countries, which in return seek better industrial market access to the emerging economies.