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Taming the Dragon: China’s Experience in the WTO Dispute Settlement System

November 25 2008
Venue: ECIPE's offices, Rue Belliard 4-6, 7th Floor, 1040 Brussels
Speakers: Henry Gao, Associate Professor of Law, University of Hong Kong
Time: 12:00

A major challenge raised by China's accession to the WTO is whether the WTO dispute settlement system can cope with China, one of the major traders in the world with an economy that is halfway between a planned economy and a market economy. Historically, the senior leadership in China attached disproportionate importance to the WTO dispute settlement system and preferred to avoid using it. In the first four cases in which China was sued or threatened to be sued in the WTO, China tried to keep a low profile and settled the cases with the complainants.

As more and more cases are being brought against China, however, the effectiveness of the WTO dispute settlement system as a trade policy tool in dealing with China has gradually faded away. This is illustrated by China’s reactions to the cases brought against it over the past two years, where China has taken a more and more legalistic approach. While China, just as any other WTO Member, has every right to use the WTO dispute settlement system, an over-aggressive strategy against China runs the risk of dragging everyone into trade wars, which is not conducive to the solution of trade disputes.

In this seminar, our guest speaker, Henry Gao will review China’s experience in the WTO dispute settlement system. An expert on WTO and trade law issues, Henry Gao has been a consultant to many national governments and international organizations including the WTO, the World Bank and APEC. He also has extensive experience in conducting WTO training programs, including organising the first Regional Trade Policy Course officially sponsored by the WTO to about 30 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Presentation by Henry Gao>

Location