China changes the equation

Australia China Business Council vice president Juyan Feng has described globalisation as an irresistible and irreversible trend.

China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organisation will necessarily change the equation for world trade, due to a combination of the nation’s huge domestic market and its developing export markets.

With 2000 Chinese regulations incompatible with the WTO’s rules, China is undergoing a large revision and adjustment period, Madam Feng said.

Changes include scrapping requirements for raw materials, fuel and other goods to be purchased from within China, the removal of inequitable privilege and government protection for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the end of dual pricing.

General tariffs will be reduced to 12 per cent during 2002, and foreign investors will be able to hold majority stakes in joint ventures, invest in railway freight, and purchase SOEs.

Opportunities to invest in infrastructure, energy and utilities projects and to provide consulting services will be the obvious attractions for many multinationals.

However, with foreign and Chinese universities able to form joint ventures, a growing holiday economy due to the doubling of the number of public holidays, increasing home ownership, opportunities will also abound in education and training, tourism and architecture and design, Madam Feng said.

Reporting on the recent ‘Managing globalisation in the 21st century’ Pacific Economic Co-operation council meeting, Madam Feng said globalisation would assist regional economies to capitalise on their comparative strengths, but should also be viewed in human, cultural and social terms.

Social justice was an important consideration for the 23-member PECC, Madam Feng said.

And globalisation would not preclude smaller economies and companies from developing global niche markets.

Finnish company Nokia dominates the mobile telephone market, the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank is a major global bank, and there is now as much internet information in Japanese as there is in English.

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