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China and the world trade organisation: towards a better fit

Subscribe to the new agenda and lead the way in business and beyond. Sign in. Become an FT subscriber to read: WTO suffers collateral damage from Trump and China Explore the new agenda We live in a time of disruption but where others see difficulty, we see opportunity - not just to survive but to thrive. Choose your subscription. For 4 weeks receive unlimited Premium digital access to the FT's trusted, award-winning business news. Premium Digital. While this may sound only of passing interest, it is in fact essential to understand that underlying the WTO is a set of practices, assumptions even values that are taken for granted in developed capitalist economies.

Many of these practices are derived from the civil and common law traditions, in particular American common law jurisprudence. This Western, largely American legal framework has little or no precedence in China. On the contrary, the presence of administrative law and more generally the rule of law as conceived of in the Western sense is a very recent development in China. Alexandroff and Rafael Gomez contemporary China and the administrative legal changes required to implement some of the basic accession requirements. Part IV of this book discusses — both from a contemporaneous standpoint and by looking back with the benefit of hindsight — the debate that occurred in the US Congress and the ever present clamor from the political right and left for close scrutiny of a variety of Chinese polices such as its labor and environmental policies as well as human rights practices and even its military spending.

These Congressional divisions not only made the process of Chinese accession all the more complicated but also, in retrospect, gave Western negotiators the needed leverage with which to advance market access negotiations between China and the United States. Although the Long March aspires to be comprehensive, it is not exhaustive in its coverage. There is naturally a degree of selection and readers will find more on certain areas, less on others, than they might have expected.

This is particularly the case with Part IV, where the debate surrounding Chinese accession in the US is singled out, rather than giving full coverage of debates that occurred in Europe, in Japan, or among other member countries such as India or Mexico. Thus while certain countries are omitted, it is expected that the critical concepts and issues raised in this part will be seen to have meaning beyond the context of the member countries examined. It is ultimately in this spirit that the Long March is presented: to provoke thought and encourage debate, and to stimulate ongoing research into the implications of Chinese accession not only for China, but for the global economy as well.

If the Long March communicates some of that excitement to its readers then it can be judged a successful endeavor. Notes 1 Most believe that the accession negotiations were suspended following Tianamen. In fact, as noted in Chapter 3 by Jeffrey L. Gertler, the GATT Working Party on China undertook almost no bilateral or multilateral activity for some two and a half years before the massacre.

However, the Working Party did commence discussions in October and continued periodically thereafter. Dr Alan S. Alexandroff became the Project Director. To accomplish these objectives, Drs Ostry and Alexandroff organized an international team. The members of the Project included former trade negotiators, trade policy experts and China experts.

The Project continued for three years meeting periodically in various cities to track progress and problems in the accession. In an effort to assist with problems as they arose in the negotiations, the Project commissioned a variety of research papers, many of which in altered form are now chapters in this book. If China had joined the GATT in the s, the negotiations would have centered on traditional trade issues or border barriers. The negotiations would probably have been difficult but since China was well embarked on a reform policy, including trade liberalization which would have been facilitated by GATT accession, the impact on China and the trading system would have been, on balance, welfare enhancing.

But the transformation of the system wrought by the Uruguay Round and its after-effects rather dramatically changes the conditions for access, and also changes the likely impact of Chinese accession on the WTO as well as the impact of the WTO on China. This is a vast subject, of course, and this chapter will be selective. Three main issues will be discussed: the North—South divide in the WTO; the rise of the environmental movement; and the increasing legalization of the WTO.

In this concluding section I shall try to highlight the implications of these changes for Chinese accession. Most lacked the expertise and analytical resources for trade policy-making but that really did not matter much because the focus of negotiations was on border barriers for industrial products, and also because agriculture was largely excluded. The tried and true GATT model of reciprocity worked well as the negotiations were led by the United States and managed by the transatlantic alliance with the European Community.

Law and Politics in the One-Party State

The so-called Third World was largely ignored as a player in the multilateral trading system. The Uruguay Round was a watershed in the evolution of the multilateral trading system. For the first time agriculture was at the centre of the negotiations and the European effort to block the launch of the negotiations, in order to avoid coming to 10 Sylvia Ostry grips with the Common Agricultural Policy, went on for half a decade.

This footdragging also spawned a new single-interest coalition — the Australian-led Cairns Group — which included Southern countries from Latin America and Asia determined to ensure that liberalization of agricultural trade would not be relegated to the periphery by the Americans and the Europeans as it always had in the past. Without the new issues it is doubtful that the American business community or American politicians would have supported a multilateral negotiation and, indeed, the long delay in launching the Round was the most significant factor in the origins of the US multi-track policy in the s which included bilateralism, unilateralism and — if possible — multilateralism.

Indeed a new Special Section of the Trade and Competitiveness Act was targeted at developing countries with inadequate intellectual property standards and enforcement procedures. As the Uruguay Round negotiations proceeded, the message from Brasilia and New Delhi became clearer: given a choice between American sanctions or a negotiated multilateral arrangement, an agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights TRIPS began to look better.

Moreover, by the onset of the s a major change in economic policy was underway. The debt crisis of the s, and thus the role of the International Monetary Fund IMF and the World Bank, plus the fall of the Berlin Wall — a confluence of two unrelated events — ushered in a major transformation in the economic policy paradigm. Economic reforms — deregulation, privatization, liberalization — were seen as essential elements for launching and sustaining growth.

Economic regulatory reform is at the heart of the concept of trade in services.

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Even without the thrust from the Uruguay Round, many developing countries began to see reforms of key service sectors such as telecommunications as essential building blocks in the soft infrastructure underpinning growth, and the GATS as a means to furthering domestic reform. While this changed view did not lead to significant liberalization in trade in services during the Round, acceptance of the GATS opened the way to further developments in the telecommunications and financial services negotiations. And also — as a virtually last minute piece of the deal — the creation of a new institution, the WTO, with the strongest dispute settlement mechanism in the history of international law.

So they took it but, it is safe to say, without a full comprehension of the profoundly transformative implication of this new trading system. The Northern piece of the bargain consisted of some limited progress in agriculture, with a commitment to go further in new negotiations in ; limited progress in textiles and clothing involving a promise to end the Multi Fibre Arrangement in with most of the restrictions to be eliminated later rather than sooner; a rather significant reduction in tariffs in goods in exchange for deeper cuts and more comprehensive bindings by developing countries whose tariffs were higher with a smaller percentage of bindings and with significant tariff peaks remaining on manufactured exports from developing countries.

On the whole, not great but not bad when compared with previous rounds centred on traditional GATT-type market access negotiations. The essence of the South side of the deal — the inclusion of the new issues and the creation of the new institution — was to transform the multilateral trading system. Indeed the full transformation is indeed still underway and difficult to forecast especially after Seattle. In the present context the most significant feature of the transformation was the shift in policy focus from the border barriers of the GATT to domestic regulatory and legal systems — the institutional infrastructure of the economy.

The barriers to access for service providers stem from laws, regulations, administrative actions which impede cross-border trade and factor flows. Thus, as noted earlier, economic regulatory reform is at the heart of the new issues. Implicit in this shift embodied in the GATS is a move away from GATT negative regulation — what governments must not do — to positive regulation — what governments must do.

Is China keeping its WTO promises?

This aspect is now apparent in the telecommunications reference paper that sets out a common framework for the regulation of competition in basic telecommunications. In the case of intellectual property the move to positive regulation is more dramatic since the negotiations covered not only standards for domestic laws but also detailed provisions for enforcement procedures on individual corporate property rights. The move from border barriers to domestic policy will require major upgrading 12 Sylvia Ostry and change in the institutional infrastructure of many or most Southern countries: governance; administrative regimes; legal systems; regulatory systems, etc.

The changes required in China will be most dramatic since China has never adopted the Western concept of a rule of law. These changes will take time and cost a lot of money, as some recent analyses have shown. The technical assistance promised by the North was not implemented.

Impact of Chinese Characteristics on the World Trade Organization: Challenges and Strategies

And a new trade institution with an increasingly litigious and evidentiary-intensive dispute settlement system required a level of legal expertise rare in non-OECD countries, and pots of money to purchase Northern legal services. And, lest we forget, all this in return for minimal liberalization in agriculture and textiles and clothing. How was such a lopsided bargain achieved?

There is no simple answer to this question. But it is very important to underline once more that the implications of the transformation of the system were not well understood by either side. Most developing countries were unable to participate in the negotiations, lacking the expertise both in Geneva and at their home base. But even the so-called Quad the US, EU, Japan and Canada had not thought through the consequences of the structural transformation of the shallow integration of the postwar system to a new mode of positive regulation of domestic policies and systems housed in a new institution that could never have even been imagined at Punta del Este in The notion of a North—South divide among the members of the WTO is, of course, an oversimplification since the Southern countries are hardly homogeneous and include the poorest or least developed perhaps 50—60 members as well as middle-income countries.

What is most interesting about the pre-Seattle discussions, however, was the proactive role of the Southern countries who submitted over half of the more than specific proposals for the ministerial meeting. Finally, it is important to underline that Seattle demonstrated, in more ways than one, that the political economy of the trade policy process has been transformed. First, the EU—US divide today is not only about agriculture but also about the basic agenda for a new round of negotiations and the extent and nature of the domestic policy space to be delineated in a new set of global trade rules.

In the US, the end of the Cold War has led to a steady decline in congressional deference to the Executive and thus greatly increased the power of interest groups in the trade policy process. Second, the North—South divide stems not only from the seriously flawed Grand Bargain and the rise of new actors but also because of changes in the policy process of the Southern countries. Among these changes, which I have explored in greater depth elsewhere,6 the most important have been the rise of democracy and the growing awareness of trade policy issues in the general public, political institutions, and the business community.

The role of the business community in trade policy has been greatly enhanced by regional initiatives both in Latin America and East Asia where business networks have been established and spawn a continuous diffusion of information and analysis. And business is not the only new player. Most of us are aware of the growing prominence of Northern nongovernmental organizations NGOs in international policy, especially after Seattle. A number of these NGOs, based in developing countries, were created in the s, and focus on trade policy or trade-related issues, especially the environment. They are also linked to a wide array of Northern NGOs with a Southern focus, including research and analysis as well as training and capacity-building, although they are often in conflict with other Northern NGOs.

Proactive versus paralyzed? Not quite. The rise of the environmental movement Environmentalism as a key policy issue in the industrialized countries has had a major impact on both domestic and international policy. The regulatory inflation noted earlier began in the s with the rise of consumer and environmental NGOs in the US and Canada and later spreading to Europe. There is plenty of scope for conflict which I shall return to shortly. Greenpeace was formed at a meeting in Vancouver in to demonstrate against nuclear testing in the north and by was in France protesting French nuclear testing.

The diffusion of protest had begun and, of course, has accelerated with the use of the Internet. In Europe, this advocacy route to influencing the process of policy-making was less widespread and, probably because of differences in the political systems, proceeded on a political party route. By the early s the Green party was in the Bundestag, and today there are social democratic and green coalitions in four European countries Germany, France, Italy and Finland as well as an increasing number in the European parliament.

It would be interesting to compare the impact of the two different routes — advocacy versus political — but little information exists on this issue. In the meantime the NGOs are highly visible and are clearly playing an increasingly important role in both defining agendas, feeding into the policy process in various ways and, by fostering corporate codes, influencing corporate behaviour.

First, they are transnational with affiliates around the world. A few examples will make the point. The Sierra Club has a department dedicated to international issues and networking. In addition to the emphasis on litigation, another feature of these green NGOs is their wealth. While it is very difficult to obtain information on funding sources, a recent American study does provide some figures. But these NGOs are also richer than many member countries.

Of course — and it is important to put this in context — so are the resources of most multinational enterprises. The most valuable asset of the NGOs, however, is knowledge. Marching on the streets is theatre and may influence the policy agenda for good or ill. But strategic knowledge is essential in affecting the policy process and outcome in the two-stage policy game, first at the national and then at the international level.

The use of the Internet has greatly enhanced the power of the NGOs both to mobilize support for specific issues and to influence national governments in the formulation of a policy stance on specific issues. One could classify these two tracks as legislative, i. Mainstream environmentalists have concentrated not on abolishing trade but on fostering change in the WTO to turn it from a trade institution to a new institution dedicated to sustainable development — a rather vague term that has never really been adequately defined.

The basic issue of concern is to provide more room for domestic environmental policy without impinging on international trade rules. This is not an unreasonable argument in and of itself, since the GATT was indeed premised on this view and domestic policy space was safeguarded by a set of rules to permit temporary blockage of imports under specified terms, i. But at the time of the creation of the Bretton Woods institutions there was a prevailing consensus among the founding member countries, the Keynesian consensus on full employment and the postwar welfare state.

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There is no prevailing consensus today on the social regulatory state — au contraire. This was included in the Doha Development Agenda. In each case the actions would have to be suitably constrained to ensure that they were not misused for protectionist purposes. And some modality of cooperation with the MEAs secretariats would be required. A dialogue of the deaf might be an apt description. This is the most serious outcome of the North—South divide and was exacerbated by the twinning of labor and environmental issues in Seattle.

Because of gridlock in the CTE, the failure to revive talks in Geneva, and a dim 16 Sylvia Ostry outlook for new negotiations, the legalistic route may yield more results. In the late s a contentious case involved a US import ban on shrimp trawled by a method harmful to certain species of sea turtles. The AB decision in effect overruled an earlier Panel decision, which had prohibited the US ban on tuna imported from Mexico because they were caught in a way that harmed dolphins. The AB ruling, it has been argued by many lawyers, in effect made new rules.

Most Southern countries were extremely critical of the decision and have argued that the door may now be open to other unilateral actions based on PPMs, perhaps even labor standards or domestic environmental standards with no international spillover. When the AB overruled the panel, outrage was expressed by many countries. Yet a more recent panel involving the US case against British steel included amicus briefs from American steel producers and was supported by the AB over the strong opposition of the EU and virtually all other members.

Once the litigation route is open to NGOs others will demand equal treatment, for example for corporations, unions, consumer groups and, of course, private legal firms. The result would be to transform the dispute settlement mechanism into a largely litigious and adversarial process. It would, moreover, tilt the system in favor of those countries rich in legal expertise and increase asymmetry in the WTO.

Given the current state of flux in the Chinese legal institutions and the likelihood of an explosion of disputes, the impact of increased litigation is scary to contemplate. There have been some suggestions for modifying of the dispute mechanism but the only way to really tackle the basic policy issues is through the legislative route. This would mean debating how to amend the relevant articles that deal with the scope for domestic policy space in environmental issues and the relationship between the MEAs and WTO rules, but also with the rising conflict, especially between the US and the EU, over food safety issues.

This provides a breathing space and an opportunity to catalyze positive movement. What is needed is to establish a policy forum in the WTO. Such a forum would permit trade and environment officials from national capitals to discuss and debate the basic issues and not the legalistic details.

Most Southern countries WTO: post Seattle and Chinese accession 17 have refused to engage in dialogue perhaps because the current WTO committee structure is so rigid and the ultimate focus is not on policy discussion but on enforceable rules. But, of course, the absence of a policy forum for discussion of transformative issues is perhaps most glaring and damaging in the case of Chinese accession and its impact on the WTO, the subject to which I now turn. Increasing legalization of the WTO There has been no analysis of the implications of Chinese accession for the functioning of the multilateral trading system by the WTO and other institutions.

But institutional impact cannot be estimated econometrically and, if mentioned at all, is impounded in ceteris paribus. Still, even a broad-brush political economy approach suggests that the singular focus of the bilateral negotiators on market access is grossly inadequate and that a long-run systemic approach is required to ensure an effective and sustainable integration of a country as large and, in many ways, unique as China. I emphasize the word questions because there are no simple clear-cut answers, but some reasoned speculation and discussion among experts in trade, international law, political economists and China experts could produce useful policy scenarios and proposals.

This discussion can only raise a few points that might be usefully explored in a multidisciplinary forum. On the North—South divide the received wisdom at present seems to be that China will be pragmatic.

One example of the latter could be the GMO debate which will soon be raging since China — unlike most of the Southern countries — aims to be a major producer of genetically altered crops as part of a broader effort to move up the technology ladder. In any case, since a new round would involve even greater structural adjustment than accession will require, one can certainly understand a lack of zeal on the part of this new member country.

The built-in tendency towards the further legalization of the WTO has already been noted above. It can also be observed in the growing evidentiary content of all disputes: panels are now in effect preparing reports less for the parties than for the AB. The requirement for ever increasing amounts of detailed information has only just begun. But this aspect of so-called transparency the most opaque word in the trade policy lexicon is by no means the only problem. Far more important over the long run is the fundamental aspect of transparency as a pillar of the GATT and now the WTO, a pillar as important as non-discrimination in the origins of the system.

This needs some explanation. It was, in effect, designed to constrain the discretionary power of bureaucrats. No founding member objected, probably because all industrialized countries had adapted similar legislation as a result of the expanded role of government. And all therefore required the establishment of norms to control what bureaucrats do and how they do it. However, it is important to underline that the US approach was different in several respects in placing more emphasis on independent regulatory agencies with quasi-judicial or quasi-legislative functions; an emphasis on the right of notice and comment; freedom of information; and judicial review.

The US approach more adversarial and fact intensive than the European was reflected in Article X, although it is weaker than the APA in speaking of the desirability rather than the necessity of independent tribunals and judicial review, probably as a result of compromise in the negotiating process. But a seachange was introduced by the Uruguay Round with the inclusion of the new issues and positive regulation in both substantive and procedural law. So transparency the word actually appears in the TRIPs Agreement now requires the publication of laws, regulations and the mode of administration in services, as well as detailed enforcement procedures in TRIPs.

Of course, the Accession Protocol of China WTO: post Seattle and Chinese accession 19 reflects these changes, including requirements on the administration of the Trade Regime and sections on transparency and judicial review. Can China deliver on these requirements? The short answer would be not yet — and it is not clear when. Thus, transparency covers publication of laws and regulations in goods, services, TRIPS, foreign exchange control; right of comment before implementation; enforcement only of those laws and regulations published; creation of a single inquiry point with a time limit for response.

Unfortunately, while Beijing may be able to publish all central government laws, etc. More broadly, the multilayered complexity of the evolving Chinese legal system — including several administrative procedures laws — makes it impossible to conform to WTO transparency. Chinese laws at present lack specified procedures to constrain bureaucratic discretion and include no mandatory right of comment. Finally, the requirement for Judicial Review faces the basic problem that there is no separation of powers in the Constitution, and therefore no concept of an independent judiciary.

As several Chinese legal experts have noted, Chinese tradition regards law as an instrument to maintain social discipline, not to limit the power of the state — rule by law not rule of law. There is no question that there is ongoing legal change in China and recognition by at least some officials of the need for further change to conform to the basic requirements of the WTO. However, far more important than changes in the written law will of course be a pervasive and profound change in culture.

The Chinese legal system is thousands of years old but the concept of control of the Mandarin was not part of it. It will take considerable time to change. After all, Japan adopted a Western legal system at the end of the nineteenth century.

China and the world trade organisation: towards a better fit

These issues should be considered in the context of another provision of the Accession Protocol — the transition arrangements, a subject which at the time of writing seems not yet agreed. A major reason why China wants to be inside the WTO is that it provides an external anchor to support and sustain the economic reform launched in the s. However, this domestic reform will involve major changes, including restructuring the SOEs and the banking system.

Joining the WTO will enhance reform prospects but also involve significant unemployment in capital-intensive industries and rural areas, widening the already growing rural—urban and regional inequality. A social safety net and other forms of adjustment assistance are essential if serious and destabilizing backlash unrest is to be avoided. Some form of multilateral sanction would have to be agreed if China failed to deliver the commitment specified in designated benchmarks. And, in order to avoid an overloading of the dispute system, an agreement to rely on negotiation and arbitration for specified cases would be useful.

The mechanism should also include technical assistance jointly supplied by the WTO and the World Bank, coordinated with the financial assistance from the Bank designed to facilitate domestic structural change. But the experience could be useful as a generic approach to the accession of economies in transition, such as Russia, a different but equally challenging task for the WTO — or rather for the member countries who bear the ultimate responsibility for maintaining global stability in an increasingly interdependent world.

See also Mark A. Groombridge and Claude E. We have not altered the original text. We feel that it stands on its own as a piece which encapsulates the thoughts of a key WTO negotiator at the time of the negotiations. What we have done instead is include an addendum which encapsulates the final round of negotiations that culminated in the November Dubai agreement. Inevitably, such a description involves some degree of speculation; but given that those of us involved in this process over the years have repeatedly had occasion to speculate as to when China will get in, we must accept a degree of speculation as a necessary part of the process, while trying to keep it within reasonable bounds.

Before delving into a description of these three steps, it may be worth briefly reviewing the many ups and downs China has experienced along its accession trail. Negotiations and agreements Altogether, 36 WTO Members counting the 15 member states of the European Union as one have expressed an interest in concluding bilateral market-access negotiations with China. Thereafter, they will be reviewed in the Working Party and will be multilateralized, i. China has still to conclude negotiations with 13 other WTO Members. For many years there was little progress in bilateral negotiations, mainly due to difficulties in the discussions between the United States and China.

However, since the United States and China initialed a comprehensive bilateral accord in November , China has been able to conclude deals with many other Members. The most significant trading partner still yet to reach agreement is the European Union. Although progress was reported in two rounds of bilaterals in February, the same reports indicate continuing divergent positions — both on the tariff and quota regime and on the percentage of foreign ownership to be permitted in telecom and insurance service sectors.

It now seems inevitable that further discussions between the EU and China will need to be scheduled. China will also be sending a negotiating team to Latin America in early March with a view to wrapping up bilaterals with Argentina, 24 Jeffrey L. The Chinese hope to conclude with the remaining Members also in the course of March. Many commentators have suggested that it would be very difficult to get the congressional votes for amending this US law any later in the year, particularly in view of the national elections scheduled for November. Rounds accession With the bilateral market-access negotiations nearing completion, WTO Members have shown renewed interest in wrapping up the many outstanding multilateral elements of the accession package.

At the very least, three more substantive meetings of the Working Party are likely to be required to complete the draft Protocol, including its many annexes, and to prepare the draft Working Party Report. Prominent among the types of information China has been asked to furnish are notifications — in a working language of the WTO English, French or Spanish — of relevant laws, regulations and other policy measures in the diverse areas of the trade regime.

For instance, China has been asked to furnish updated notifications on its industrial and agricultural subsidies; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; mandatory standards; import licences, quotas and tariff-rate quotas; state-trading restrictions; regulations affecting foreign investment; regulations affecting various service sectors; patent, trademark and copyright laws and procedures; and so on.

China has indicated that it will be complying with these requests on an urgent basis. It may be worth pointing out, however, that what has been requested of China is no different from what has normally been requested by the WTO — at least in recent years — of all acceding governments.

Identifying trouble spots and agreeing on specific timing — including possible transition periods — for China to bring any WTO-inconsistent policy measures into compliance with WTO obligations present major challenges for all concerned. The Working Party last considered this matter jointly in early , based upon a draft circulated to members in May As of that draft, there was already substantial agreement on large portions of the Protocol, subject of course to overall agreement on the entire package of accession documents.

Agreement, in principle, existed on the preamble; general provisions; commitments relating to administration of the trade regime, including uniform administration, special economic areas, transparency and judicial review; commitments on non-discrimination, special trade arrangements, trading rights, state trading, non-tariff measures, import and export licensing, price controls, taxes and charges levied on imports and exports, domestic support and export subsidies in agriculture, standards and technical regulations, sanitary and phytosanitary measures; a transitional review mechanism to oversee compliance with the terms of the Protocol; and final provisions.

At the same time, significant differences of opinion remained on draft provisions addressing the distribution of import licences, quotas and tariff-rate quotas; the timing for full implementation of the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures TRIMs ; subsidies commitments; commitments related to balance-of-payment measures; the phasing out of the transitional review mechanism; the establishment of product-specific and general safeguard mechanisms; and a special provision on price comparability in determining subsidies and dumping.

Members and China recognize that more work needs to be done in each of these areas, as well as some redrafting of a technical nature and an overall review to ensure consistency in form. Additional work will need to be done on the draft Protocol to bring it into line with certain commitments China has agreed to — or may yet agree to — in the context of bilateral negotiations. Beyond this, the Working Party will need to review and make any necessary amendments and clarifications to the many transitional annexes of the Protocol.

We can anticipate considerable time being devoted to these matters, particularly to resolving complexities of transitional measures. Finally, in the multilateral context, members of the Working Party and China will have to agree on the text of a Report of the Working Party. The Secretariat prepared an outline of a draft Report back in and the latest version was circulated in the Working Party in May Substantial work remains to be done in order to complete this document.

A Working Party meeting has been scheduled for the week of 20 March and it is likely that the Chairman will call for a further session in April. From there, we will have to wait and see how fast the whole process can be put to bed. Approval and acceptance Once there is consensus in the Working Party on the final accession package — Report of the Working Party, with a draft Decision and Protocol of Accession and Annexes as attachments — this will be forwarded to the General Council for decision.

In accordance with established procedures, the General Council will then adopt the Report and approve the draft Decision. Such a procedure would shorten the timeframe for China becoming a WTO Member once the terms of her accession are approved by the General Council. More importantly, definitive acceptance by signature would prevent a situation arising whereby the Chinese executive would not be able to control the timing of accession. Concluding comments Much remains to be accomplished before the accession package for China can be said to be complete.

At the same time, there is little doubt that WTO Members and China are now very eager to see this matter brought to a successful conclusion. Addendum Alan S. Alexandroff February 6, With all things seemingly related to this accession, the final stages of accession in fact took longer and were more contentious than most expected. In achieving the final result there were numerous issues that resurfaced following the so-called completion of the US bilateral and significantly delayed the completion of the European Union bilateral.

Notwithstanding that the US—China bilateral was concluded in November , it was not signed-off on until March 3, What had appeared resolved in various bilateral negotiations proved not to be so. Learn more. Following China's accession to the World Trade Organization WTO , it has been impossible to overlook the influence of its economy on the multilateral trading system. Volume 26 , Issue 2. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account.

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