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
Date Written: November 1, 2012
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: Suggested Citation