- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

China and Compliance with World Trade Organization Commitments: The First Six Months

William B. Abnett

China is working very hard to implement its [WTO] commitments, but...acceding countries are normally required to have in place all necessary laws and regulations before accession [emphasis added]...The U.S. and other WTO members made an extraordinary exception for China when we agreed to drop this requirement because most simply realized it would take too long. Some were worried that the Chinese leaders who pushed for the WTO might have died by the time all measures at a central and local level were in place. That’s why we negotiated transition periods for many of China’s commitments as well as the so-called annual Transitional Review Mechanism in the WTO in Geneva.

...While China had made many changes to its trade regime over the fifteen years of the accession process, the complexity of the protocol and its annexes attest to the wide array of practices within China that remain non- WTO compliant at the time of accession as well as the concerns of existing WTO members on how well China’s economic system would mesh in fact with underlying WTO obligations...