Really Going WTO?  (c) Simon Xi Zhang, 2002



1.  Parallel WTO Memberships is Still Internal Economic Affair

On the same day President Chen Shui-bian delivered his speech, mentioned in the paragraph above, China merely indicated that it wished to see parallel memberships at WTO would accelerate Taiwan abandoning discriminative treatment against Chinese goods and investment, strictly limiting the topic within economic context and avoiding politics[96]. In addition, the Deputy Minister of MOFTEC also dismissed the possibility that formal WTO conferences or meetings would be held in Taiwan, the reason was that "Taiwan is merely a separate customs territory of China"[97]. These statements are consistent to the position of Chinese Government that Taiwan issue is an internal issue of China and should not be internationalized.


2. No Submission to WTO Dispute Settlement Body

The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council (PRC) is of the opinion that the bilateral trade relations during post-WTO-accession period is "special internal relations inside one country as between a sovereignty and its separate customs territory" and "does not necessarily need to be dealt with under WTO structure"[98]. This position has been reaffirmed in every press conference of the Taiwan Affairs Office since last September, when China and Taiwan were preparing for their final accessions to WTO. It clearly precludes the possibility that China will initiate WTO consultation with Taiwan or request establishment of Panel of the Dispute Settlement Body to resolve disputes.

[96] MOFTEC Minister Shi Says: WTO Provides New Opportunity for Cross-Strait Trade Development, China News Agency (November 12, 2001).

[97] Statement of MOFTEC Deputy Minister Mr. An Min, as reported in Ming Pao (Hong Kong, November 12, 2001)

[98] Press Conference of Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, September 26, 2001; October 31, 2001; December 5, 2001; December 26, 2001; January 30, 2002; March 27, 2002.