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WTO Membership for China: To Be and Not to Be: Is that the Answer?

In: The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater


  • Sylvia Ostry


In her paper, Sylvia Ostry argues that if China had joined the GATT, the negotiations would have been far easier since market access under GATT was mainly about border barriers. But since the Uruguay Round the concept of market access has been extended to include not only domestic regulatory policies but also both substantive and procedural legal issues. The issue is no longer what governments must not do, but what governments must do. And it extends the Western or American administrative procedures to cover many more areas such as telecommunications, and intellectual property. Over it all is a supranational juridical system housed in the WTO, which is becoming increasingly litigious. It will be extremely difficult to integrate the nontransparent way the Chinese economy functions without “rule of law” into the WTO’s highly legalized system. The Chinese will also make it more difficult to achieve the “consensus” required for the WTO to function. In addition, Chinese accession will not help to break the North-South gridlock that has tied up the WTO. Ostry proposes that China’s entry into the WTO would be smoother if there were a new transition mechanism that allowed varying time deadlines for different parts of liberalization commitments and was subject to review by the WTO’s Trade Policy Review Committee. In her view, the same mechanism could also be applied to Russia.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylvia Ostry, 2001. "WTO Membership for China: To Be and Not to Be: Is that the Answer?," The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater,in: Patrick Grady & Andrew Sharpe (ed.), The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater, pages 257-266 Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:secfds:11

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "Local Corruption and Global Capital Flows," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(2), pages 303-354.
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    More about this item


    China; WTO; World Trade Organization; Trade; GATT; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; Liberalization; Trade Liberalization; Trade Agreements;

    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade


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