China and the World Trading System: The WTO and Beyond

  • Jeremy T. Paltiel


The process of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is an object lesson in China’s relationship to international society. Accession can be viewed through different lenses. One lens looks at China’s specific performance in which accession is viewed as a contract and therefore is evaluated on evidence of specific compliance or derogations. Another lens views WTO accession as part of China’s integration process into global regimes and assesses how China’s accession redirects its domestic policies toward the norms and constraints embedded in the WTO regime. The first approach sees the WTO regime as a pattern and matches the regime against the outlines of China’s current policy and law. 4 The second approach sees WTO accession as riding a trajectory of conformity with international regimes and compares the commitments under the accession agreements with China’s past governance practices.5 The latter does not ask “to what extent does China comply?” but “what has changed?” and “how do the changes mandated by the WTO reorient Chinese governance on a sustainable course of market opening and adherence to international norms?”


World Trade Organization World Trade Organization Member World Trading System World Trade Organization Rule World Trade Organization Membership 
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  1. 34.
    See Susan Shirk, The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  2. 35.
    Donald C. Clarke, “The Execution of Civil Judgments in China,” in Stanley B. Lubman, China’s Legal Reforms (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 66.Google Scholar
  3. 77.
    Mark A. Groombridge and Claude E. Barfield, Tiger by the Tail: China and the World Trade Organization (Washington: AEI Press, 1999).Google Scholar

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© Jeremy T. Paltiel 2007

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  • Jeremy T. Paltiel

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