• Introduction
• Founders and Board Members
• Honorary Advisors
• Foundation Events
• China This Week
• Washington Journal of Modern China
• US-China Policy Review
• China Forum
• USPCF Staff
• Other Links
Week of November 16, 2001

Week of November 16, 2001

The U.S. and China This Week


 
 

 

INTERNATIONAL: China Accepted Into World Trade Organization

After years of trying, China was finally accepted into the World Trade Organization (WTO) November 10 at a meeting in Doha, Qatar. China still must send the WTO word that it has ratified the terms of the agreement of its accession, and 30 days later China will officially enter the organization. China will have to reduce import tariffs to an overall average of eight percent from the present 21 percent, end subsidies to farmers and state-owned enterprises, and eliminate restrictions on where and how foreign corporations sell their products in China. In addition, foreign telecommunications and Internet service providers will be allowed to own higher percentages of Chinese companies. And China will have to obey WTO rules on patents, copyrights and intellectual property rights.

"China has made long-standing and unremitting efforts ?for acceding to the WTO, which fully demonstrates the resolve and confidence of China to deepen its reform and to open further to the outside world," said Shi Guangsheng, China's minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation, who spoke in Chinese, English and French.

Mainstream economists say free movement of goods and capital helps all economies have better chances of higher incomes. But over half of China's workers are in state-owned enterprises, and Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch, a group formed by Ralph Nader, said China's joining the WTO will lead to "lost jobs and ruined livelihoods." Wallach also said other countries, especially middle income ones, could be adversely affected as multinational companies will now move to China. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said that while China faces a "daunting challenge," the nation's previous growth shows that moving to the free market will "dramatically raise production and standards of living."

Taiwan was accepted into the WTO November 11, the day after the mainland's acceptance.


Previous Summary || Next Summary


INTERNATIONAL: China's Leaders Wary of WTO Challenges

China's promises to cut tariffs and subsidies and stop other measures protecting Chinese workers from the pressures of global capitalism in order to join the World Trade Organization have its leaders worried. "Everyone is very happy about the WTO except me," said Prime Minister Zhu Rongji. While Zhu worked for WTO membership, he is concerned about China's many inefficient farms and businesses. The WTO agreement will decrease farm incomes, close down inefficient state-run banks and state-owned enterprises, bring more people into already overcrowded cities, increase unemployment and increase economic inequality.

According to experts, tens of millions of Chinese farmers who grow wheat, rice and cotton could soon be out of work. Beijing can subsidize agriculture 8.5 percent according to the WTO accession agreement, but economists say it will have trouble maintaining the 3.5 percent it currently subsidizes farmers. "There's no doubt the peasants will have it worse," said Yuan Gangmin, a high-level economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

When it joins the WTO, China must reduce tariffs on auto imports to 25 percent from the present 80 to 100 percent. Duties on auto parts will fall to 10 percent. Analysts say of more than 130 domestic auto makers, only three or four will be able to compete in the global marketplace.

Currently, Chinese deposit savings in state-owned banks that have given billions in loans to inefficient state-owned companies. Now that foreign banks will be able to make loans and take deposits in the local currency, many state-owned firms may be forced into bankruptcy as citizens use foreign banks due to less risky lending practices and better service.

However, while there will be short-term economic difficulties from joining the WTO, Chinese clothes, toys, shoes and other labor-intensive goods should benefit greatly from WTO accession. In the long run, membership should bring China substantial economic benefits. And Han Wen, an economist at Beijing University, said Chinese leaders wanted to join the WTO to lock in economic reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping.


Previous Summary || Next Summary


DOMESTIC AIDS Conference Highlights China's Progress, Shortcomings

China held its first ever AIDS conference November 13, which was attended by the United Nations' foremost AIDS specialist, Peter Piot. Piot, the executive director of Un-aids, the U.N. organ dealing with Aids, gave China credit for making progress in dealing with the disease. "Compared to two years ago, what's being said and the strategies that are being proposed are good," Piot said in an interview. "But there is definitely not nearly enough going on now to effectively deal with the epidemic. And there is a lack of a sense of urgency at nearly all levels."

Piot told the 2,000 researchers and academics gathered in Beijing that China could face 10 million more AIDS cases in the next ten years if preventive measures are not implemented. Health Minister Zhang Wenkang estimated China has 600,000 HIV-positive individuals, and said the government was setting a goal of limiting that number to less than 1.5 million by 2010. But some experts say China has more than 1.5 million people with HIV right now, and the U.N. puts the figure at around one million.

In May, China's State Council put forth a plan to ensure safety of blood donations, improve AIDS education, enhance training of health workers, and develop sound HIV monitoring systems. There were no new measures announced at the conference.

Reporters were only allowed to attend the opening session of the conference and a news conference afterward. Chinese translators replaced "epidemic" with "situation" every time Piot used the former term. And while Vice Premier Li Lanqing was supposed to give the opening address, he was substituted for by Zhang. Meanwhile, at the press conference, the director general of the Health Ministry's Disease Control Department said reports of an AIDS disaster in Henan province have been overblown. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of villagers were infected through unclean practices of collection when they sold their blood in the mid-1990's. Piot alleged that similar mass infection from blood banks has occurred in Shanxi province, which is adjacent to Henan. Selling blood was officially outlawed in 1995 but continued long afterwards.

Piot criticized China for practicing severe discrimination against HIV-positive individuals, having lack of effective AIDS education and offering insufficient options for treatment of HIV. Chinese health workers complain their efforts against AIDS are being impeded by widespread ignorance and prejudice about the disease, especially among local government officials.

Top of Page


The U.S. and China This Week
 

USCPF Homepage


uscpf@uscpf.org

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Last updated: October 05, 2001

 
   316 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 201-202 • Washington DC 20003 • phone: 202.547.8615 • fax: 202.547.8853