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Wednesday, September 19, 2001

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`China in WTO is good for India'

Ch. Prashanth Reddy

HYDERABAD, Sept. 18

WHAT does China's entry to the World Trade Organisation mean to India?

``It is a welcome news,'' says Dr B. Yerram Raju, Chairman of Agriculture and Rural Development Area, Administrative Staff College India (ASCI) here.

According to Dr Raju, China's entry will offer Indian merchandise, technologies and capital greater access to the Chinese market and introduce fresh impetus to the improvement and growth of the overall Sino-Indian relations.

At present, China's base rates of duty for several agricultural, fisheries and medicinal products are higher than the bound rates. Its entry to WTO will result in a reduction in duty, enabling India to establish a competitive position by 2004 for most of these products.

Besides, India can have market access to the de minimus level of 3 per cent straight away and 5 per cent of the total domestic market of China by 2005 in respect of several products and services. The global dispute resolution mechanism under WTO will be of equal consequence to China if it fails to conform to the WTO terms and conditions.

Today, Dr Raju says, China may be grouping its exportable products for different markets with varying standards. But from tomorrow, such an act will attract the anti-dumping duties and also countervailing measures. In fact, during the last nine years, 42 of the 90 anti-dumping duties imposed by various countries in the world were against China.

Similarly, the prevailing non-tariff barriers, particularly the quarantine restrictions on imports of mangoes, other fresh fruits and vegetables from India to China, will be reviewed and the sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures will conform to the WTO no rms.

Dr Raju, however, pointed out that despite entering late, China was more prepared to the WTO challenges and opportunities than India today. The Chinese know where they stood vis-a-vis WTO and were keen to take advantage of market access. On the other han d, India was yet to devote its attention on commodity markets, tariffs, demand estimates and it's investments on market promotion and development.

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