China's experience and challenges in utilising the WTO dispute settlement mechanism

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The creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement system has been viewed as a major achievement. The Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), the agreement that governs the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM) to ensure better compliance with WTO legal commitments, aims to provide a more secure and predictable multilateral trading system. However, WTO Members' experiences with the system differ substantially. In particular, many developing Members have struggled to adjust to a new system of jurisprudence, utilize it effectively, and muster the substantial resources that involvement in the DSM demands.

China has undergone significant change and unprecedented economic growth in the last several decades. Although still classified as a developing country, its trade has taken the world by storm, with China currently ranked as one of the largest and most powerful players in the global economy. The nation's recent history has seen a whirlwind of expansion and development involving extensive structural change and economic liberalization. China's engagement with the WTO system serves as a testament that China is an economic and political force here to stay.

On 11 December 2001, China acceded to the WTO as its 143rd Member, after 15 years of negotiations to enter the multilateral trading regime. With WTO membership, Chinese exports have been granted automatic most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment in the markets of all WTO members. Both Chinese exports and imports have grown enormously, and China currently ranks as the world's third largest trading power.


Asian Studies | International Trade Law

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Law of Transnational Business


Dispute settlement at the WTO: The developing country experience


Gregory Shaffer & Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz

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Cambridge University Press

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