China and E.U. talks end without deal

by Stormy Wylie
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BEIJING — In two different meetings in late March, European trade negotiators left the bargaining table with China, saying it is not currently possible to reach a W.T.O.-entry deal.

Observers said the failed talks, held March 27-28 in Beijing and led by Pascal Lamy, the E.U. trade commissioner, and Shi Guangsheng, Chinese foreign trade minister, could prevent China's admission to the W.T.O.

In a statement, Mr. Lamy said although there was a constructive spirit at the talks, "a bilateral agreement was not possible at this stage." How far and how fast China should open its services, telecommunications, life insurance, banking and distribution markets are the main areas of disagreement, E.U. officials said.

No date was set for further talks. A cutoff date for this recent round of talks was not set, but the trade negotiations were to have been extended if a deal looked possible.

The European Union is considered by some to be the most important of 10 W.T.O. members with which China must secure a market-opening pact before it can enter that global trading bloc.