CONCERNED over delay in its bid to rejoin the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), China has turned to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to help strengthen its multinational trade negotiating. A four-year project to help China pursue its trade objectives more effectively is being undertaken by UNDP, the UN's central co-ordinating organisation for development activities. The Department of International Trade and Economic Relations (DITER) of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation (MOFTEC), charged with the responsibility of handling multilateral trade affairs, will take part in the project. A large part of DITER's work is concerned with China's return as a contracting party in GATT and with China's participation in the Uruguay Round. DITER's negotiating capacity in formulating positions, in decision-making and in responding to its negotiating partners has been handicapped by the lack of adequate resources in both DITER and in other departments and institutions. Most government officials have neither the experience in multilateral trade negotiations nor the ability to identify cost and opportunity links to natural objectives. And in spite of the complexity of the legal and institutional questions involved, DITER is plagued by lack of effective support from research institutes and the academic community. The Chinese authorities believe these factors are hampering its ability to take part effectively in multilateral negotiations leading to membership in GATT.