The Challenges of China's Recent FTA: An Anatomy of the China-Korea FTA
Journal of World Trade, vol. 50, no. 3 (2016): 417–446
34 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2016 Last revised: 12 Oct 2016
Date Written: June 3, 2016
As the biggest Chinese free trade agreement (FTA) to the date of its signature, the China-Korea FTA provides an amazing case study for the development of China’s recent FTAs. This paper analyzes major challenges in its rule development, implementation, and interpretation. The author argues, first, that rule development encounters market liberalization, regulatory cooperation and coherence, as well as sectoral challenges. Second, the fundamental issue for rule implementation and interpretation is the lack of a ‘systemic’ response to the relationship among FTA chapters, and to the relationship among the China-Korea FTA, domestic law, and international law. Finally, the relationship between the China-Korea FTA and World Trade Organization (WTO) law deserves special attention, which consists of five categories of circumstances. A number of questions are analyzed: which WTO rules apply to the China-Korea FTA? Do WTO rules apply to WTO-plus obligations? Can WTO jurisprudence be applied to the China-Korea FTA? The issue of the applicability of WTO rules and jurisprudence to FTA obligations including WTO-plus obligations remains open. These challenges are not unique to the China-Korea FTA and are likely to exist in other Chinese FTAs.
Keywords: China, FTAs, challenges, WTO, jurisprudence, Korea
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