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No breach of WTO pledges

A proposed law amendment that would ban foreign companies from mail delivery in China conforms with the country's commitments to the World Trade Organization, legislators heard yesterday.

The draft amendment to the Postal Law being deliberated by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress created no new barriers for investment and trade, said Qiao Xiaoyang, a member of the NPC Law Committee.

An article in the amendment that would ban foreign companies from providing delivery services in China for security reasons has raised concerns that it might breach WTO commitments and threaten the businesses and investments of foreign delivery firms.

Qiao said the amendment would not affect the development of foreign business operations in China, nor did it breach China's WTO vows.

Under WTO rules, foreign investment in service and trade was allowed only in the service sectors that a member promised to open.

On entering the WTO in 2001, China made specific pledges to open express mail services except "services monopolized by China's postal department according to the law," said Qiao.

Under the Postal Law of 1986, delivery of letters in China was a monopoly of the postal department, he said.

A 1995 regulation on the management of international cargo transport service providers allowed foreign businesses to deal with international express mail, except for private letters.

Therefore, "the amendment article on not opening domestic delivery to foreign investment conforms to China's WTO commitment,'' Qiao said.


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