International Trade: News Briefs

Presidents & Prime Ministers, May 1998 | Go to article overview

International Trade: News Briefs


Software Advances

China Internet Corp. (GIG) recently announced that it plans to establish a national software download center with U.S. computer companies. CIG and Netscape Communication Corp. also announced the launch of free Internet guide services for China's interior areas and Hong Kong.

These are the cooperative results of a U.S. computer industry trade mission which visited Beijing recently. The high-level delegation, composed of representatives from nine computer companies including Netscape and America Online and organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Embassy in China, aims to establish ties with China's computer companies and seek opportunities for cooperation.

Intellectual Property Rights

Croatia and the United States recently signed a memorandum on the protection of intellectual property rights in Zagreb. According to the Director of the States Bureau of Intellectual Property, Nikola Kopic, who signed the memorandum on Croatia's behalf with U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, William Montgomery, the memorandum should ease Croatia's access to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and improve overall co-operation between Washington and Zagreb. He emphasized that the memorandum is very important for good economic relations between the two countries. He also explained that the process is now open for concluding two important agreements between Croatia and the U.S. which cover the abolition of double taxation and the protection and stimulation of investments.

Electronic Commerce Debate

The European Union (EU) has proposed a World Trade Organization (WTO) debate on removing the obstacles to electronic commerce, and establishing a basic set of principles to add transparency and legal certainty for on-line trade. The EU communication to the WTO suggests that international trade rules relating to electronic transactions should be clarified and revised by December 1998. This is an area of increasing importance to world trade, with economic predictions suggesting that on-line and especially Internet trade will continue to grow rapidly, to the benefit of both developed and developing countries.

The proposed agenda for WTO debate focuses on five main subjects:

* agreement that no duties are imposed on the import of on-line services;

* ensuring the effective protection of privacy of individuals in order to facilitate electronic trade;

* the competition aspects of electronic commerce;

clarification of the status of electronic commerce in the WTO; and

* debate on electronic commerce within the WTO in relation to intellectual property, government procurement, trade facilitation, and information technology.

Annual Negotiations

China and the European Union (EU) recently held annual high-level trade negotiations in Brussels. The talks were headed by Sir Leon Brittan, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Shi Guangsheng, Chinese Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation.

The Ministerial meeting, known as the annual EU-China Joint Committee, is a new initiative by the European Commission to strengthen and deepen relations with China. …

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