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1948 - China becomes one of the 23 founding members of the WTO's predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

1950 - One year after the 1949 founding of the People's Republic of China, China pulls out of GATT.

1986 - China applies to join GATT.

Jan 1, 1995 - WTO replaces GATT.

November 1995 - China unveils its biggest trade liberalization package in 16 years. It plans to slash import tariffs by 30 percent and allow the establishment of joint venture companies.

October 1997 - China slashes import duties to 17 percent from 23 percent but maintains "peak tariffs" on other goods such as automobiles.

March 4, 1999 – The United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky holds talks with Chinese officials and leaves Beijing saying "significant gaps" remain on farm trade and services.

April 8, 1999 - President Bill Clinton and Premier Zhu Rongji sign a joint statement in Washington welcoming substantial progress in China's entry into the WTO.

May 7, 1999 - NATO bombs Chinese embassy in Belgrade. China freezes WTO negotiations.

Sept 11, 1999 - Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin make a sideline agreement to resume WTO negotiations during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum in New Zealand. Barshefsky holds talks with her Chinese counterpart but no progress is reported.

Nov 8, 1999 - Clinton sends Barshefsky and a key White House aide to China to negotiate an agreement.

Nov 11, 1999 - The United States says no progress is made. "We are discouraged that progress has not been made at this point. The clock has nearly run out," Barshefsky says.

Nov 13, 1999 – Zhu Rongji holds a meeting with Barshefsky.

Nov 15, 1999 - The United States and China announce a WTO pact. China agrees to open a wide range of markets, from agriculture to telecommunications while it is agreed that Clinton must persuade the US Congress to grant China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR).

May 19, 2000 - EU signs WTO accession pact with China.

Oct 10, 2000 - Clinton signs PNTR bill into law after approval by the House of Representatives and Senate.

June 9, 2001 - China and the United States announce a consensus on issues holding up China's entry to WTO after meetings on the sidelines of an APEC trade ministers' gathering.

June 20, 2001 - EU says it has resolved outstanding bilateral issues with China over its accession.

July 3, 2001 - China's chief trade negotiator, Long Yongtu, says "all major issues" have been resolved in talks with WTO members.

Sept 14, 2001 - WTO members agree for China's entry, clearing the way for entry by the end of the year.

Nov 10, 2001 - The fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, unanimoly approves China's decision to enter the WTO.

Dec 11, 2001 - China officially enters the WTO, becoming its 143rd member.

Foreign Trade
Foreign Investment
Going Global

'Opening-up to continue'

When China joined the WTO it opened up many sectors and embarked on a journey that would lead to it becoming the second-largest economy.

Photo Gallery

Still room for investment

Photos for China's 10 years in WTO

Steering a new course

Retailer beefs up expansion

Citi eyes bigger market share

Insurers adapt to new system

Time to tread a cautious path

Change tack for more gains

Keeping the flag flying high at WTO

Investigations that create friction

High road to success

Tough going for foreign retailers

Opening-up helps in going-abroad

Cool start for global automaker

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