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Trade Deals For China's Entry To WTO Could Hurt NZ

In behind the scenes deals at the APEC talks yesterday for the resumption of WTO entry talks between China and the US, NZ producers could be big losers. John Howard reports.

Following a three hour meeting between Chinese and US negotiators, US Trade Representative, Charlene Barshefsky said, she hoped the starting point for the resumption of WTO entry negotiations for China would be a generous package Premier Zhu Rongji tabled during his US visit in April.

Mr Zhu placed the prospect of unprecedented market access to China for the US in agriculture, telecommunications, and services.

But Mr Clinton told Mr Zhu it did not go far enough.

Outstanding issues also included market access to banking, securities, textiles, and audio-visual products.

While no specific time frame for China's accession to the WTO was established, Beijing is showing a willingness to engage in "substantive" discussions. US product access to China is high on agenda if China expects US support.

Even if China can strike a WTO entry deal with the US by November, it still has to finalise similar agreements with the European Union and several other countries.

What will deeply concern NZ producers is that while the "big boys" come out to play at APEC and negotiate behind the scenes deals, smaller countries such as NZ may be left on the sidelines with crumbs from the table rather than a piece of the cake.

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