Chapter 13: China in the WTO: Enforcement of the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Agenda
Kong Qingjiang1 China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 11 December 2001 was an historic event. For the rest of the world, admitting China into the world trading system was a great experiment. Indeed, as the most populated country, China’s rapidly expanding economy reflected its significant role in decision-making concerning the world’s resource allocation. There was no certainty at the time of accession that China’s economic system would mesh well with WTO rules and other trading partners’ market-oriented economies. Moreover, in the history of the world trading system, never had a country of such trading importance, and with a system that had been identified to be incompatible with WTO norms, been admitted. It is no exaggeration that, at the time of the accession, given China’s trade weight, its anticipated gigantic trade surge would disrupt the markets of its trading partners, and the rule-based multilateral trading system would be endangered if China opted to ignore WTO rules. With this apprehension in mind, even before admitting China into the world trading system, the leading trading partners, particularly the United States and the European Union (EU), had successfully forced China to accept a more comprehensive protocol on the accession, one in which China committed itself to ever more far-reaching obligations beyond the WTO. Moreover, China’s leading trading partners kept a close watch on China’s behavior in the WTO and formed task forces to monitor China’s compliance with WTO commitments. It was the first time in the history of the world trading...
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