WTO Accession, Foreign Direct Investment and International Trade
Edited by Chunlai Chen
Chapter 4: The WTO and China’s Transparency Requirements
Vivienne Bath INTRODUCTION When China acceded to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, it gave a number of specific commitments to improve the ‘transparency’ of its regulatory regime in relation to trade and trade-related matters. These commitments can be found in Part I, paragraph 2(C) of the Protocol on the Accession of the People’s Republic of China (WTO, 2001a). The primary Chinese commitments are mainly based on, and to some extent supplement, the requirements set out in Article X of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and Article III of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). A wider issue that the Chinese government needed to address in order to satisfy these commitments, however, was the overall question of the transparency of the Chinese regulatory regime, in terms of the ready availability of legislation and the ability of the public to have input into legislation and information about (and hence some degree of control over) the exercise of regulatory power by Chinese government and regulatory bodies. In short, the establishment of a more open legislative and regulatory system in China is an integral part of the effective implementation of China’s WTO obligations relating to trade. China has undoubtedly made considerable progress in relation to its commitments on transparency, although international satisfaction with the result is not universal. This chapter addresses a number of issues relating to China’s compliance with its requirements and the question of transparency in the Chinese legal and regulatory regime. WTO REQUIREMENTS...
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