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China and the Multilateral Trading System

35 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2006  

Robert Z. Lawrence

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: December 2006

Abstract

This paper reviews China's multilateral and preferential trade policies. It reviews the demanding terms of China's WTO accession, its current tariff and trade regime and its participation in the Doha Round negotiations and the institution's regular activities. The analysis concludes that China's trade policies are broadly supportive of a rules based multilateral trading order and its behavior at the WTO is that of a status quo power rather than one seeking major systemic changes. The discussion then turns to China's regional trade initiatives. China has been extremely active in negotiating these and their implications remain uncertain. Concerns about an East Asian fortress, though, appear misplaced. Directly, and through their impact in inducing others to respond, these FTAs could provide a powerful impetus to the process of competitive global liberalization. Countries that do implement agreements with China will find it relatively easy to open their markets to other developing countries. There is also a risk however that the proliferation of FTAs will lead to web of overlapping agreements that could make the trading system unnecessarily complex

Suggested Citation

Lawrence, Robert Z., China and the Multilateral Trading System (December 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12759. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=951915

Robert Z. Lawrence (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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