China - Tariff Rate Quotas for Certain Agricultural Products: Against the Grain: Can the WTO Open Chinese Markets? A Contaminated Experiment

27 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2020

See all articles by Joseph W. Glauber

Joseph W. Glauber

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Simon Lester

Cato Institute

Date Written: December 2020

Abstract

The U.S. complaint about Chinese tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) on certain grain products helps illustrate several key issues in U.S. - China trade relations and the effectiveness of WTO disputes. First, do international obligations based on transparency and fairness work in relation to an authoritarian country not known for the rule of law domestically? Second, can there be a disconnect between the legal aspects of a dispute and the underlying economic interests, with a DSB ruling sometimes not leading to improved trade flows? And third, given the bilateral trade war and "phase one" trade deal between the United States and China, has the WTO been superseded in this trade relationship? This paper summarizes the facts and law of the China - TRQs dispute, and examines each of these questions in that context.

Keywords: US-China trade relations; agriculture; transparency obligations; WTO dispute settlement; tariff-rate quotas

JEL Classification: F13, F51; Q17

Suggested Citation

Glauber, Joseph W. William and Lester, Simon, China - Tariff Rate Quotas for Certain Agricultural Products: Against the Grain: Can the WTO Open Chinese Markets? A Contaminated Experiment (December 2020). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2020/91, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3745609 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3745609

Joseph W. William Glauber (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Simon Lester

Cato Institute ( email )

1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States

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