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Farm tariffs to be cut in new trade deal

CHINA would cut farm tariffs under a new global trade deal, further opening up one of the least protected agriculture markets in developing countries, according to a new study by a Chinese expert.

The study by Tian Zhihong, professor of international trade at China Agriculture University, concludes that a deal in the World Trade Organization's Doha round would see the ceiling on China's farm tariffs fall by about one sixth.

Tian noted in the study that China's tariffs - which were cut as a result of tough negotiations when the country joined the WTO in 2001 - are already only one quarter of the global average.

And unlike in many other developing countries, there is little gap between the maximum tariff ceiling and the duty China actually applies, so that a cut in the ceiling would produce a real reduction in the duties that are levied.

"China is one of the least protected markets for agricultural products in the developing world," Tian said in the study, produced for the Geneva-based International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development, a non-governmental organization that promotes research into trade and development.

The study is based on the latest negotiating texts issued last December and appears as efforts are under way to revive the long-running Doha negotiations, which began in 2001, and reach a deal next year.

China, with other major emerging countries, is under pressure from the United States in the Doha round of talks to open its markets more to American goods, particularly manufactured products.


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