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China and the WTO: towards a better fit

This session at the WTO Public Forum, in Geneva, will discuss a proposal for the WTO to accommodate China better while retaining its priciples.

Speakers

André Sapir

International Economics, Trade, European Governance

Senior fellow

Petros Mavroidis

Edwin B. Parker Professor of Foreign & Comparative Law, Columbia University,

Chad P. Bown

Reginald Jones Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics,

Audio recording

This session was organised at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum in Geneva.

The participation of China in the WTO has been anything but smooth. Its self-proclaimed “socialist market economy” system has alienated its trading partners.

Two diametrically opposite approaches (and a few variations of them) have been proposed to deal with the emerging problems. One is to demand that China changes its economic regime. The other is to stay idle and accept that the WTO must accommodate different economic regimes, no matter how idiosyncratic.

At this event we want to propose a third way. In our view, the problems posed by China are due to the fact that, while in the past the GATT/WTO had to address the accession of socialist countries or of big trading nations, it never had to deal with a big, socialist country like China. In order to retain its principles and yet accommodate China, the WTO needs to translate some of its implicit legal understanding into explicit treaty language.

BACKGROUND MATERIALS

China and the world trade organisation: towards a better fit by André Sapir and Petros Mavroidis