Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Issues in China’s Ascension to the WTO

Kirrane, Chris (2002): Issues in China’s Ascension to the WTO.

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Few events have unleashed so many passions and aroused so much hope or concern in the Chinese population as accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The stakes are considerable as the modifications of the foreign trade regime that China will have to put in place have potentially wide economic consequences. But it is also because accession to the WTO is seen as a new stage in internal economic reforms, in short as an instrument of domestic policy. The about WTO ascension are comparable to those that occurred in Spanish, Portuguese or Greek societies when they joined the European Community in the 1980s, or to those taking place today in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe which are negotiating their entry into the European Union. Many analyses have also compared accession China's to the WTO to the launch of the open door policy in December 1978, an economic policy decision that should upset the structures and modes of the economy. As in 1978, the leaders seem forced to reform and produce a strong economic growth from which they derive their legitimacy. In this context, it is not surprising to find a very broad spectrum of analysis on the economic consequences of China's accession to the WTO. Between the pessimists who insist on the incapacities of China to meet the challenges and the optimistic hopefuls who see in WTO ascension a rocket capable of placing in record time and without a hitch China in the orbit of the most economically developed countries, this paper proposes a more cautious and contrasted analysis. This analysis will focus in on particular factors that may limit the opening of the internal market, as well as on innumerable unknowns which have not been clarified by econometric models and which are likely to have many surprises for the economic development of the country.

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