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THE WEEK AHEAD

BEIJING : Playing by the Rules

February 23, 1993

Douglas Newkirk, assistant U.S. trade representative, will be in Beijing for talks next Monday and Tuesday on China's application to join the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

China wants to join GATT to ensure access to foreign markets, but the structure of its economy and tariff system does not fit with GATT rules. It is now carrying out reforms to bring it closer to compliance.

Beijing cut import tariffs on 3,371 products on Dec. 31, reducing the overall tariff level by 7.3%, according to official reports. But tariffs still stand much higher than the 15% maximum allowed for developing countries that are members of GATT. The high tariffs contributed to a record $18-billion U.S. deficit in trade with China in 1992.

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