Negotiators still at the table on air services agreement

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 June, 2004, 12:00am

Negotiators for China and the United States yesterday extended talks aimed at securing the countries' first new air services agreement in almost a decade.

Public and private sector officials from both sides talked all weekend in Washington after no deal was reached on Friday, the final day of a scheduled three-day meeting.

'We're meeting again [on Monday morning],' an official at the talks told the South China Morning Post late last night.

'There are a lot of details to iron out. This is not like the Hong Kong-US [deal] where you take the last basic agreement and add a couple of flights or maybe an extra airline. Some of this enters entirely new ground.'

A Chinese aviation source yesterday confirmed China's negotiators had extended their stay in Washington, but he said they were due back in Beijing on Thursday.

'Our representatives will stay in Washington several days more to draft the details of the discussion,' said a senior official for the General Administration for Civil Aviation of China, the mainland's regulatory authority.

'I am not sure whether the agreement will be signed, but it seems they have more work to do in the US.'

The US team is pushing for access for at least four new passenger carriers, such as American Airlines.

They also are trying to win concessions which would allow pure freight operators such as Polar Air Cargo into the market and the regulatory flexibility for express carriers such as Federal Express to set up freight hubs in China.


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