China and the WTO Dispute Settlement System: From Passive Observer to Active Participant?
(2011) Global Trade and Customs Journal, Vol. 6(10), pp481-490.
22 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2011 Last revised: 15 Oct 2015
Date Written: 2011
Since China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in December 2001, it has participated in a relatively small number of cases brought to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), contrary to the many wild predictions made prior to entry. In the first few years post-accession, China seemed content to act as a passive observer, participating mainly as a third party. However, since 2006, there appears to have been a shift in attitude with China now taking a more combative stance, particularly in the past few years. This article will examine China’s participation in the WTO DSB from 2002 to date to explore whether China’s approach really has shifted from that of passive observer to that of an active participant, possible reasons to explain this transformation and what the implications of such a shift may be for other WTO Contracting Parties.
Keywords: WTO, dispute settlement, international trade disputes, China
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