China’s Evolving Role in WTO Dispute Settlement: Acceptance, Consolidation and Activation

(2012) 3 European Yearbook of International Economic Law 89-123

35 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2012

See all articles by Bryan Mercurio

Bryan Mercurio

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Mitali Tyagi

Independent

Date Written: November 1, 2012

Abstract

This article will China’s participation in the WTO dispute settlement process since its admission into the organization in 2001 to 2011. The aim of the article is to demonstrate China’s changing attitude towards its role in the multilateral trading system by focussing on China’s engagement with the WTO dispute settlement process as both a complainant and respondent.

Through analysing China’s participation in the dispute settlement system one can see that three distinct phases emerge, namely an Acceptance, Consolidation and Activation. Through these three distinct phases, the article describes how China has transitioned from a timid new Member lacking the confidence and understanding to fully utilise the dispute settlement system to become on the most prolific users of the system – in short, China now fully embraces the ‘aggressive legalism’ model of using the multilateral dispute settlement process as a ‘shield’ and a ‘sword’ to defend and promote its trade interests. In this regard, China’s path towards aggressive legalism is similar to the experience of both Japan and Korea. The article concludes that this newfound path will be beneficial not only to China but also to the world trading system as a whole. China’s experience in the WTO and through its use of the dispute settlement mechanism demonstrates that it not only accepts international rules but also is willing to abide by the rules and accept international arbitral decisions enforcing the rules.

Keywords: Dispute Settlement, WTO, China

JEL Classification: K33, K42, P26

Suggested Citation

Mercurio, Bryan Christopher and Tyagi, Mitali, China’s Evolving Role in WTO Dispute Settlement: Acceptance, Consolidation and Activation (November 1, 2012). (2012) 3 European Yearbook of International Economic Law 89-123, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1987287

Bryan Christopher Mercurio (Contact Author)

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

6/F Western Teaching Complex
Shatin, New Territories
Hong Kong
(852) 2696 1139 (Phone)

Mitali Tyagi

Independent ( email )

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