NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

China and the Multilateral Trading System

Robert Z. Lawrence

NBER Working Paper No. 12759
Issued in December 2006
NBER Program(s):   ITI

This paper reviews China's multilateral and preferential trade policies. It reviews the demanding terms of China's WTO accession, its current tariff and trade regime and its participation in the Doha Round negotiations and the institution's regular activities. The analysis concludes that China's trade policies are broadly supportive of a rules based multilateral trading order and its behavior at the WTO is that of a status quo power rather than one seeking major systemic changes. The discussion then turns to China's regional trade initiatives. China has been extremely active in negotiating these and their implications remain uncertain. Concerns about an East Asian fortress, though, appear misplaced. Directly, and through their impact in inducing others to respond, these FTAs could provide a powerful impetus to the process of competitive global liberalization. Countries that do implement agreements with China will find it relatively easy to open their markets to other developing countries. There is also a risk however that the proliferation of FTAs will lead to web of overlapping agreements that could make the trading system unnecessarily complex

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12759

Published: in Eichengreen, Barry, Yung Chul Park and Charles Wyplosz (eds) "China, Asia, and the New World Economy"

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