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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chinese To Resume WTO Talks

BEIJING -- China will resume talks to join the World Trade Organization in April, with members of that group agreed that China may qualify for easier entry requirements, U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor said Monday.

Talks on China's admission to the WTO, which promotes free trade, broke up late last year, with Beijing accusing Washington of blocking its entry. The dispute soured trade and other relations between the United States and China.

Speaking at a news conference, Kantor said talks between China and WTO members in Geneva would resume next month. He said the United States supported China's wish to join the WTO as a founder member and both countries agreed to be flexible and pragmatic in talks on the issue.

The talks last year foundered partly on China's demands that it be allowed to join the trade group as a developing nation -- a label that would give it more time to reform its economy in line with WTO requirements.

The United States, however, said China's economy was too large and its exports too great for it to qualify as a developing nation.

The United States and the European Union also said China had to do more to prove that it would follow international trade rules.

Kantor, who arrived in Beijing on Friday, said he and Chinese foreign trade minister Wu Yi agreed to reconsider the developing nation question "realistically.''

Japan, the United States and the European Union "all agree that for certain purposes China is, of course, a developed country, for others a developing country,'' he said. "We need to be flexible.''

While Kantor and Chinese officials found common ground on trade, he said they mostly disagreed on human rights, a subject he discussed with President Jiang Zemin Monday afternoon. He said the United States would continue pushing for human rights improvements in China and warned that "failure to make progress will continue to present difficulties.''