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Brits prepare for significant openings as China joins WTO

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NEWS

New and potentially significant opportunities for British and other Western architects to practise in China have been opened up by an agreement on the terms for China to join the World Trade Organisation, writes Alan Osborn.

China's commitments will allow access for foreign service providers, guaranteed by 'transparent and automatic licensing procedures' which are set out in detail in its Protocol of Accession.An important concession gained by the EU in the negotiations provides for foreign architects and others to hold majority control of businesses within China. Firms will be able to establish relations with their Chinese counterparts, enabling them to work inside the country on Chinese projects.

New Chinese laws, introduced to restrict market research, are to be relaxed. The European Commission said this will open the way for European companies to carry out vital pre-investment research, before making commitments.

EU officials believe the main gains for architects could come in the tourism sector. China's entry will signal 'an enormous gain in enforceable rights' for European professionals, the commission said.

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