Sense and Sensibilities of China and WTO Dispute Settlement
Journal of World Trade, Vol. 44, No. 6, pp. 1155–1186, 2010
50 Pages Posted: 24 May 2010 Last revised: 26 Mar 2012
Date Written: May 3, 2010
This paper aims at making a preliminary assessment of China in the WTO dispute settlement system from an international socialization perspective. When China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in November 2001, it was not clear how China would behave in WTO dispute settlement. At first, China proved to be a conciliatory defendant and reluctant complainant. Recently however, China’s profile in dispute settlement has shifted to a more proactive one, leading some observers to label its behavior “aggressive.”
I argue that China’s behavior should be viewed in a different light. From totally rejecting international third party adjudication in the past, China - by permitting WTO panels to determine its fate in trade disputes - has started to exhibit new willingness to accept binding international adjudication. In this context, China is demonstrating respect for international rules as well as its faith in western legal norms and institutions. Through more intense participation in WTO dispute settlement, China is also becoming increasingly vested in the maintenance of WTO norms and rules, and consequently, the WTO dispute settlement system is playing an important role in socializing China.
Keywords: China and WTO, China, WTO, Dispute Settlement, China and International Adjudication, International Adjudication, Institutional Socialization
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