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External Publication

China and the WTO: Why Multilateralism Still Matters

An examination of China’s participation in the World Trade Organization, the conflicts it has caused, and how WTO reforms could ease them.

By: and Date: January 28, 2021 Topic: Global Economics & Governance

The full version of this book has been published at Princeton University Press.

China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 was rightly hailed as a huge step forward in international cooperation. However, China’s participation in the WTO has been anything but smooth, with China alienating some of its trading partners, particularly the United States. The mismatch between the WTO framework and China’s economic model has undermined the WTO’s ability to mitigate tensions arising from China’s size and rapid growth. What has to change? China and the WTO demonstrates that unilateral pressure, by the United States and others, is not the answer. Instead, Petros Mavroidis and André Sapir show that if the WTO enacts judicious reforms, it could induce China’s cooperation, leading to a renewed confidence in the WTO system.

The WTO and its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, are predicated on liberal domestic policies. They managed the previous accessions of socialist countries and big trading nations, but none were as large or powerful as China. Mavroidis and Sapir contend that for the WTO to function smoothly and accommodate China’s unique geopolitical position, it needs to translate some of its implicit principles into explicit treaty language. To make their point, they focus on two core complaints—that Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) benefit from unfair trade advantages, and that domestic companies, private as well as SOEs, impose forced technology transfer on foreign companies as a condition for accessing the Chinese market—and they lay out specific proposals for WTO reforms.

In an age of global trade disputes, China and the WTO offers a timely exploration of unprecedented challenges to the current multilateral system and fresh ideas for lasting solutions.

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Opinion

The EU-China investment deal may be anachronic in a bifurcating world

Ultimately, only time will tell if this landmark trade agreement will be productive and counter the potential bifurcation of international value chains.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: April 6, 2021
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Opinion

中國兩會的主要目標在於長遠經濟規劃

2021年相對較低的經濟目標實際上有助於保持2021和2022年增長的相對穩定。

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: March 12, 2021
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Opinion

Anchoring expectations as Two Sessions’ main objective

Interestingly, the growth target for 2021 is pretty humble: over 6 percent for 2021, while most forecasts hover between 7 and 10 percent.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: March 10, 2021
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Podcast

Podcast

Will China fall into the middle/high income trap?

The middle to high-income trap in East Asia and its China dilemma.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: March 3, 2021
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Opinion

外國投資者可能會放緩在中國債券市場的步伐

總體而言,誘人的息差縮小和信貸風險的上升可能會削弱此前中國債券的優勢。儘管中國仍在推動債券市場多元化,但越來越多的中國企業被實施制裁對2021年來說並不是個好兆頭。

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: March 3, 2021
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Policy Contribution

China’s state-owned enterprises and competitive neutrality

The concept of competitive neutrality can be used to assess how far a market is from being a competitive environment. In China, competitive neutrality is lacking, with state-owned firms favoured in most sectors, even over Chinese private firms.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Gary Ng Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: February 23, 2021
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Opinion

Will COVID accelerate productivity growth?

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an increasing number of rich-country firms to reduce their reliance on global supply chains and invest more in robots at home. But it is probably too soon to tell whether this switch will increase productivity growth in advanced economies.

By: Dalia Marin Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Date: February 10, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism: Greening the EU trade?

Assessing CBAM from a trade perspective.

Speakers: Suman Bery, Luis Garicano, Emily Lydgate and André Sapir Topic: Energy & Climate, Global Economics & Governance Date: February 4, 2021
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External Publication

Getting America Back In The Game: A Multilateral Perspective

How can friends of the multilateral system re-engage the United States under President-elect Biden?

By: Richard E. Baldwin, Chad P. Bown, Jonathan T. Fried, Anabel González, André Sapir and Tetsuya Watanabe Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: January 28, 2021
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Podcast

Podcast

A rushed deal or a rush to judgement?

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) is supposed to improve market access for European companies operating in China and to ensure a level playing field, as well as reciprocity. Does it fulfil such expectations?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: January 27, 2021
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Opinion

中國企業受累貿戰和疫情,但仍優於全球同業

總體上,中國企業的表現半喜半憂:相對全球同業表現較好,但收入下降和槓桿率升高帶來的風險也不容忽視。

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: January 21, 2021
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Opinion

RCEP對亞洲影響積極,無阻價值鏈重組

總體而言,雖然RCEP成員之間在市場准入上實際提升幅度有限(例如中國和澳洲),但這一協定的意義在於讓世界意識到,亞洲仍然依賴中國市場,亞洲國家不能錯過中國放寬市場准入的機會,即使幅度有限。

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: January 21, 2021
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