BEIJING (AP) -- Foreign firms, Japan's government and Chinese advocates of reform hailed China's impending World Trade Organization membership on Tuesday, but others fretted that the country is ill-prepared for an onslaught of foreign competition.
After 15 years of grueling talks, negotiators on Monday agreed to rules allowing China to join the global trade club. China's government vowed to abide by common trade rules and open its markets, saying WTO entry would boost China's economy and unleash the huge purchasing power of 1.26 billion Chinese.
"Joining the WTO is an important strategic decision of the Chinese government against the background of globalization," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao. "The Chinese government is busy making preparations for entrance so that the various commitments can be earnestly fulfilled."
Foreign businesses were excited by the prospect of greater access to China's long-protected markets. But they also urged foreign governments and firms to help ensure that China fulfills promises to open up.
"The terms of China's accession are very specific, both as to goals and as to the time granted to China to achieve those goals," said Robert Kapp, president of the U.S.-China Business Council.
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