- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

China's Accession to the WTO: A Candid Appraisal from U.S. Industry

It is widely assumed that large American businesses stand to benefit substantially from the liberalization measures that China has proposed as part of its accession to the World Trade Organization, but how specifically do representatives from the corporate community in the United States view the significance of China’s WTO accession and what precise benefits do they see their companies gaining from a WTO deal? In 1999, an anonymous questionnaire was administered to corporate executives in order to encourage frank and candid assessments of corporate views of a China WTO deal. In contrast to claims made both within and outside the business community, the survey responses reveal a more nuanced view of the expected changes that China’s WTO accession would bring to corporate bottom lines. In particular, more modest short-term effects on corporate strategies and economic growth were predicted, since many companies already anticipate accession. Whereas respondents generally agreed that in the long term WTO participation would impel China to restructure its economy further, they varied greatly in their assessment of the short-term impact of WTO accession on the Chinese economy, pointing out the various serious difficulties China faces in implementing the WTO framework.