By ZHU QIWEN
Nearly a year after the collapse of WTO talks in Cancun last September,
the breakthrough deal the World Trade Organization's(WTO) 147 members
struck on July 31 breathed new life into the Doha Round trade talks.
By committing wealthy countries to substantial cuts of trade-distorting
farm subsidies, the interim accord marked a needed first stab at marrying
trade liberalization with fair trade order.
Though the triumph will, for the moment at least, rescue the stalled
trade talks from the rising dislocation of globalization, there is still
a long way to go before the WTO's development promises can be fully translated
The Doha Round was lunched in the Qatari capital Doha in late 2001 with
a central aim to give developing nations bigger benefits from trade.
Negotiations were originally expected to conclude by January 1, 2005.
However, because of the rich nations' reluctance to make necessary concessions,
the Cancun meeting - which was supposed to take stock of progress in negotiations
under the Doha Development Agenda - turned out to be a bitter memory of
the divide between rich and poor nations on the global trade order.
Rich nations, which accounted for 14 per cent of the world population,
reaped 75 per cent of the revenue of international trade.
While benefiting so much and so long from global trading, they nevertheless
still cling to agricultural subsidies which unfairly tilt the international
trade order against most developing countries.
Free trade is undoubtedly the best way to reduce global poverty as well
as boost economic growth for poor countries.
But growing discontents with globalization conspicuously gives evidence
to the disappointing fact that prosperity free trade brings about had
never been equitably shared between rich and poor nations.
Agriculture is typically a big part of developing countries' economies.
But poor nations find it hard to compete against rich nations' farmers,
who get more than US$300 billion in government handouts each year.
It is all too obvious that such unbalanced trade is neither sustainable
nor helpful to the development of the world economy.
The collapse in Cancun has virtually made the recent trade talks a final
chance to save not only the Doha Development Agenda but also the multilateral
trading system itself.
Thanks to strenuous and last-ditch efforts by all sides, negotiators
hammered out a deal to extend this round of trade talks until at least
December 2005, while some believing 2006 or 2007 to be more realistic.
The new mid-way accord has set needed guidelines for future negotiations.
And an extension of the negotiation timetable has also allowed us to get
our breath back.
Yet, as details of the deal remain to be negotiated, we must foster a
renewed sense of urgency as soon as possible.
Thankfully, WTO members have not allowed pessimism to prevail after the
failure of trade talks in Cancun.
Persistence was needed to put the Doha round back on track.
And now it is.
To eventually turn the development promises into real benefits for poor
countries, all members of the global trading system should make the most
of the optimism the interim accord ignited to speed up talks.
The Eighth CIFIT's organizing committee introduced its latest preparatory
work for the upcoming fair at a press conference recently held in Fuzhou,
capital of Fujian Province.
At the meeting, Huang Ling, Vice-Mayor of Xiamen -- the fair's host city,
introduced the new content, highlights and preparatory work of the CIFIT.
Lin Changcong, vice general-secretary of the organizing committee requested
more promotion for the CIFIT during the month before the fair.
In order to ensure better security and services at the Eighth CIFIT,
the Xiamen Municipal Government has dispatched a document stipulating
limits on the highest prices for hotels in the city.
The document also requested tourism and price regulatory departments to
strengthen supervision of tourism service quality and implementation of
the price fixing.
Having been the largest participating business at the last fair, Sweden's
Volvo Car Corporation has decided to attend the upcoming Eighth CIFIT
again. It is the second time the company has showcased itself at the fair.
Compared with last year, the company will double their booth area to 600
square metres, setting a new record among registered businesses until
The company is expected to display a brand new series of its vehicles
during the fair, according to sources with the company.
The Ministry of Commerce -- the CIFIT's sponsor and China EMBA Society
(a magazine) will jointly hold the First China EMBA Entrepreneurs Fair
during the Eighth CIFIT.
The fair aims at providing Chinese EMBA entrepreneurs an information platform
on investment, financing, law service, financial management and business
Co-operating with the fair's organizer, US-based NASDAQ Corporate will
hold a forum at the fair. The company's Asian Region Chairman Ghanshyam
Dass will deliver a speech at the forum about his opinion on Chinese and
American small and medium enterprises going public.
Members of the Eighth CIFIT's organizing committee held full discussions
about the fair recently at its second
preparatory meeting in Lanzhou, capital of Guansu Province.
Member provinces of Henan, Jiangsu and Liaoning promised to highlight
their best efforts.
Central China's Henan Province will be sending to the fair a huge delegation
of about 1,000 people from 18 cities, with a majority from enterprises.
They are coming to seek opportunities.
In April, Henan held an investment and trade promotion fair of its own.
More than 200 projects signed at the fair will be showcased at the Eighth
Because of Henan's advantages in resources, 60 per cent of the projects
cover the manufacturing sector, including coal, electricity, aluminum,
and automobiles. Altogether 34 projects have been posted on the website
"The promotion symposium on Henan Province is to take on a new look.Pragmatism
is our priority. We are more concerned about projects underway and their
follow-up, according to Zhang Jinxuan, the director of the commercial
department of Henan Province.
He said an exhibition booth of 160 square meters was too small to showcase
what they have achieved. Henan will highlight their strategy of developing
cities in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River such as Luoyang,
Xinxiang, Kaifeng and Xuchang, all of which will have individual stands
at the fair.
Jiangsu Province on the east coast of China is targeting a matchmaking
symposium. The province succeeded in matching five projects last year
when the event was first introduced to the fair. So they have confidence
in their prospects this year.
"Jiangsu Province is affected to a certain degree by policies on
controlling the heated economy." according to Lou Haizhong, deputy-director
of foreign investment of foreign economic and trade department of the
province. "We are selecting those projects that are in line with
national industrial polices."
Jiangsu is likely to promote State-supported industries such as modern
manufacturing and service industry.
Lou elaborated on the scheme on balancing the development of south, central
and north parts of the province. The province's booth will feature the
eight cities in central and north parts of Jiangsu so as to draw more
attention there since south Jiansu has a relatively developed economy.
As one of the loyal members of CIFIT, Liaoning is especially happy to
seethe revival of Northeast China's traditional industrial bases has been
set as one of the five highlights of the fair this year.
Liaoning's gross domestic product accounts for nearly 50 per cent of
the three provinces in Northeast China and foreign investment injected
into the province accounts for 80 per cent of the region's total.
"In response to the theme of this fair to revive and explore the
potential of the traditional industrial base of Northeast region, we plan
to introduce two bases: raw material and equipment manufacturing; and
three sectors: IT, modern agriculture and service," said Wang Shutao,
Director of Foreign Investment of Foreign Economic and Trade Department
of Liaoning Province.
Liaoning speaks highly of the forums at the session of the fair. According
to participants, high profile forums offer them a broader vision of the
world economy. "This year we will also provide tickets to leaders
at municipal level. I tell them that these tickets are quite popular,
go and bring something back," said a senior official.
The fair consists of more than 30 members, for which a special zone will
be set up. Other provinces apart from Henan, Jiangsu and Liaoning are
also staging exhibits in a very dynamic way in order to make CIFIT a fruitful