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BRIEFLY / TRADE

Canada, China Reach Bilateral Accord

November 27, 1999|Reuters

Canada fell into step with the United States, signing a bilateral agreement matching the landmark U.S.-China deal reached earlier this month that paved the way for China to join the World Trade Organization. The deal calls for a cut in tariffs on Canadian exports to China, with priority given to telecommunications equipment, aircraft, canola oil and paper products, Canadian International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew said during a signing ceremony in Toronto. Joining him for the ceremony was Shi Guangsheng, China's minister for foreign trade and economic cooperation. Before it can enter the WTO, China must still reach market-opening agreements with other key powers in the organization, including the 15-member European Union. Canada-China bilateral trade is worth about $6.8 billion a year, and China is Canada's fourth-largest trading partner. In 1998, Canada's exports to China were valued at $1.7 billion, with agricultural goods topping the list. In its deal with China, Canada negotiated tariff reductions on priority goods that will see duties fall from an average of 12.5% to about 5% in less than three years. China also will open the door to Canada's high-tech industry, eliminating all tariffs on items covered by the International Telecommunications Agreement, such as telecom equipment, within five years.

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