• Kyodo


China’s ongoing trade dispute with Japan can be resolved under World Trade Organization rules after it joins the Geneva-based global trade watchdog, a top Chinese trade negotiator said Wednesday.

“We can find a solution within the framework of the WTO,” said Long Yongtu, vice minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation.

Speaking at a news conference, Long did not elaborate on how the dispute could be resolved but stressed that China is set to become a WTO member as early as this year.

Asked when Japan and China will resume talks on the trade row, Long only said it will be “some time convenient for both sides.”

In talks held last month in Beijing, the two countries failed to resolve differences but agreed to resume negotiations. The date, however, has not been set.

The dispute stems from Japan’s decision in April to impose temporary curbs on imports of shiitake, leeks and rushes under a so-called safeguard mechanism of the WTO.

China, which accounts for the bulk of Japan’s imports of the three farm products, retaliated in June with punitive tariffs on Japanese automobiles, mobile phones and washing machines.

Long said it is a “foregone conclusion” for WTO member countries to endorse the accession of China and Taiwan at a ministerial meeting in Qatar in November.

China and Taiwan will promote economic and trade cooperation under the WTO after they join the world body, he said.

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