The EU and China in the WTO: What Contribution to the International Rule of Law? Reflections in Light of the Raw Materials and Rare Earths Disputes
19 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2016
Date Written: May 1, 2015
The aim of this paper is to examine the contribution of the EU-China strategic partnership to the rule of law at the international level, in the particular context of the World Trade Organization (WTO). More specifically, we analyze the EU’s relationship with China in the context of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM), hypothesizing that the use the two strategic partners make of the DSM contributes to the enhancement of the international rule of law. For that purpose, we analyze two recent cases that were brought before the WTO’s DSM by the EU, namely the Raw Materials and the Rare Earths disputes, in order to assess the actual contribution of EU-China dispute settlement to the enhancement of the rule of law at the international level. The main argument defended in this paper is that the practical use of the DSM by the EU and China reinforces the international rule of law in international trade. Such practice nevertheless also demonstrates that the heritage of China’s Accession Protocol and its overall implementation in the DSM challenge some important aspects of the international rule of law, in particular the clarity and equality before WTO law.
Keywords: European Union, China, World Trade Organization, Dispute Settlement, International Rule of Law
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