Further details have emerged about the effect on the international automobile industry of China's recently approved membership of the World Trade Organisation.

According to an EU briefing paper obtained by just-auto.com, China has made significant steps to liberalise its auto trade, a statement that contrasts with the pessimistic tone of an earlier WTO paper, which said that tariff protection would remain high after it formally joins the trade body, probably next March.

The EU paper says that the tariff on imported cars will "all from 80-100 percent today to 25 percent by July 1, 2006, [with the greatest reductions in the first years]".

Also, regarding vehicle production in China by foreign-owned companies, China has agreed that "restrictions regarding the category, type and models of vehicle produced will be lifted," the financial ceiling beyond which investments have to be approved by both central and provincial authorities will rise from $US30 million to $US150 million, and also the requirement for foreign engine manufacturers to have a local joint-venture partner is to be scrapped.


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