The Aftermath of China's Accession to the World Trade Organization

By Hsiung, James C. | Independent Review, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Aftermath of China's Accession to the World Trade Organization


Hsiung, James C., Independent Review


After almost fifteen years of long and hard negotiations, the People's Republic of China was finally, at the end of 2001, admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) ("WTO Ministerial" 2001). By prior agreement, its accession was followed in tandem by Taiwan, admitted under the nomenclature of "The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu." The arrangement was a compromise to avoid the stigma of having "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan" in the organization.

With few exceptions, the U.S. mass media treated the landmark development as a nonevent. For China, which is fully aware of the advantages and disadvantages of WTO membership, the most important political significance of the accession is that it confers the fight to act as a "player of equal footing" in the arena of trade and, by extension, on the world political stage. (1) Most analysts and U.S. government officials who had occasion to comment on the event focused on the economic aspect, such as its impact on the world economy as well as on the Chinese economy. (2)

Most available commentaries were positive, even exuberant, about the economic impact on both China and the world. The most exuberant and sustained comments came from the China Business Review (CBR), a publication of the U.S.--China Business Council in Washington, D.C., which ran a series of projections that began on the eve of China's actual accession. The CBR series focused primarily on the economic implications, touching only occasionally on collateral social or legal issues (for example, Chan 2001; Goldstein and Anderson 2002; Ma and Wang 2001; Zeng 2002). Elsewhere, other commentaries touched on the resultant challenge for domestic reforms, including reform of Chinese laws. On the latter, the Bush administration, quite atypically, seemed rather upbeat, expecting that WTO regimes will encourage application of the rule of law in China (Aldonas 2002). (3)

Some spoke of the social effects within China as it opens its previously closed doors, especially in agriculture and the service industry, to fellow WTO members. Such effects include social unrest--possibly even social turmoil (Eckholm 2002, 1)--stemming from the expected rise in unemployment and income disparity as well as in the growth of a more assertive middle class (Shen 2002, 30). Rarely, if at all, did any discourse explore the possible political impact on China's international status and on its role on the world stage. This omission is odd, considering that the inclusion of China among WTO's ranks "makes the WTO a truly global organization," as expressed by Ambassador Sergio Marchi (2002), chairman of the WTO General Council.

To be sure, some discussions did cover possible "political change" if China keeps its promise to live up to WTO rules and to the terms of the many agreements that it concluded with other members in the run-up to its accession (Pei 2001). As a whole, however, these possibilities were limited to the area of domestic change in China. Other discussions touched on political effects in the context of the changing relations between mainland China and Taiwan after both entered the WTO (Hsiung 2001a; J. Huang 2002; Sutter 2002). None of these discussions, however, considered the international political implications of the development. Much less could one find a comprehensive yet balanced and succinct presentation of the various key issues and ramifications of China's WTO entry.

In this article, therefore, I present such a comprehensive survey and analysis. To fill a glaring gap in the existing literature, the discussion pays special attention to the international dimension, in particular to ascertaining how WTO membership may bear on China's world status and affect Chinese relations with key players in the world. The word aftermath in the title indicates that the article does not go into the process of China's negotiations for its WTO accession, which is passe and adequately covered in the literature.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Aftermath of China's Accession to the World Trade Organization
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.