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Bush praises China inclusion in WTO

By KATHY A. GAMBRELL, White House Reporter

NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- President Bush on Sunday hailed the admission of the People's Republic of China into the World Trade Organization as a move that will strengthen global trade and economic growth.

"The decision in Doha -- reached following many years of negotiations -- marks a formal agreement by the 142 members of the WTO on the steps that China and Taiwan must take to open their markets as WTO members," Bush said.

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China was admitted to the trade organization during its meetings in Dohar, Qatar Saturday. China had been lobbying for 15 years for entry into the trade body and was thought to have a better chance after the Uruguay Round of World Trade talks in November. The formal ratification of the vote comes in December, 30 days after Beijing formally signs its accession documents.

With a population of 1.2 billion people, China enjoys an annual $1 trillion gross domestic product. Taiwan has the world's 16th largest economy. While their economies are comparatively smaller than other nations such as Japan and the United States, both China and Taiwan are considered attractive for foreign investment.

"I am confident that China's entry into the WTO will bring other benefits to China beyond the expected economic benefits," Bush said.

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The president said China's new status on the world stage would require the nation to strengthen its rule of law and introduce certain civil reforms. China has been long criticized for actions against its citizens that many nations and organizations call human rights violations.

It was in mid-October when Bush traveled to Shanghai for the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum where he held bilateral talks with China President Jiang Zemin who expressed a desire to work with the United States on issues of trade.

"As such, we share common responsibility and interest in maintaining peace and security in the Asia Pacific and the world at large, promoting regional and global economic growth and prosperity, and working together with the rest of the international community to combat terrorism," Zemin said.

President Bush is in New York this weekend where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly and held a series of talks with leaders from Africa, Croatia and South America.

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