China's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001 was hailed as the natural conclusion of a long march that started with the reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping in the 1970s. However, China's participation in the WTO since joining has been anything but smooth, and its self-proclaimed 'socialist market economy' system has alienated many of its global trading partners - as recent tensions with the United States exemplify. Prevailing diplomatic attitudes tend to focus on two diametrically opposing approaches to dealing with the emerging problems: the first is to demand that China completely overhaul its economic regime; the second is to stay idle and accept that the WTO must accommodate different economic regimes, no matter how idiosyncratic and incompatible. In this book, Mavroidis and Sapir propose a third approach. They point out that, while the WTO (as well as its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade [GATT]) has previously managed the accession of socialist countries or of big trading nations, it has never before dealt with a country as large or as powerful as China. Therefore, in order to simultaneously uphold its core principles and accommodate China's unique geopolitical position, the authors argue that the WTO needs to translate some of its implicit legal understanding into explicit treaty language. Focusing on two core complaints - that Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) benefit from unfair trade advantages, and that domestic companies (both private as well as SOEs) impose forced technology transfer on foreign companies as a condition for accessing the Chinese market - they lay out their specific proposals for successful legislative amendment.[by publisher]
Introduction 1. The rise and rise of China : (and what should be done about it) 2. Complaints against China : (euphoria exits and dysphoria enters) 3. Dealing with heterogeneity in the GATT/WTO : lessons from the past for China 4. Unilateral responses do not work 5. Staying idle is no solution 6. The way forward 7. The time is now Concluding remarks : this time it is different indeed.