China is due to be granted membership of the World Trade Organisation today (Monday),
following 15 years of often intense negotiations but its vehicle industry is to
retain a significant level of tariff protection, writes Keith Nuthall.

After implementing all the promises it has made in the bilateral deals which
paved the way for WTO membership, China’s average bound tariff level for industrial
goods will drop to 8.9 percent, with a range from 0 to 47 percent.

However the highest rates will apply to vehicles and related products.

Most tariffs that are to be reduced or eliminated will be cut by 2004, but
in no case later than 2010.

As soon as Chinese membership is formally in place – which under a set
timetable, should happen next March – under WTO rules, if China raises
its customs dues, it will henceforth be open to disputes procedure challenges
at the WTO.

The formal decision to set this official procedure in motion is to be taken
today by the WTO’s China accession working party.

To view related research reports, please follow
the links below

country report: China

world’s car manufacturers: A financial and operating review (download)