China and Neighbourhood

A Case Study of China’s Membership of the World Trade Organization: Implications on Sovereignty

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Widely called mainland China, The Peoples Republic of China is the oldest civilization, and the largest country in the world in terms of population. Since 1980, China has become the fastest growing major power, and home to the World’s largest One-Party-State –run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Prior to becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), China’s attitude has been centered on parameters of need to use basis – a policy largely attributed to the quest of strengthening national sovereignty, and enhancement of economic prosperity.


BY  BINNEH S. MINTEH | October 07, 2012

china wto

Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, his successor Deng Xiaoping announced the commencement of an “Open-Door” policy, endorsing China’s economic engagement of the world, thus becoming the anchor of the Asian nation’s economic strategy. This paper argues that China’s commitments and compliance under obligations of the WTO is based on an “Open -Door Policy,” aimed at economic growth, whilst strengthening the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and not compromising national sovereignty.

The paper proceeds in Part I with a Conceptual Background Information of China’s neo-liberal market policies and globalization. In Part II, the paper looks at China’s Regime Commitment and Compliance in The World Trade Organization. Part III discusses Major Compliance and Commitment Concerns with China in The World Trade Organization.  In Part IV, I analyze the theoretical and empirical implications of Chinese WTO membership on Sovereignty. And I conclude in Part V.

Part I: Conceptual Background Information

The relevant literature theorizing China’s relation with the World Trade Organization (WTO) is not conflicting at all. China’s relation with the WTO has long been a strategic policy underpinning for reasons of protecting national sovereignty and the interest of the people.  From it’s traditionally premises, the literature on China’s relationship with the WTO evolved around similar paradigmatic shifts – notably an early 1970 doctrine of market liberalizations around the empowerment of the state machinery. Scholars such as Alex E. Fernandez, Gilberto, and Barbara Hogenboom (2007) argued that “the economic miracle of market socialism has been the result of the structural transformations that started in 1978 under Deng Xiaoping at a time when China was economically devastated by the cultural revolution of Mao Zedong (1966-76).” These structural transformations of market socialism were the beginning of China’s pathway to economic reforms.

The emergence of market oriented economic policies were the hallmark of China’s economic reform across various trajectories of its systematic integration into the global economy. Throughout the process, evolutions in technological innovations, and the progressive engagements of Transnational and Multinational Corporations epitomized economic growth and prosperity. Whilst policy formulation evolved around those parameters, China was cognizant of not compromising sovereignty and the interest of its citizens. This is evidently the backbone for the proliferation of market oriented economies across Mainland China. China realizes that to be a global competitive force, it has to be a part of the growing global trend. Along those parallels, it embarked on a strategic and tactical economic reform epitomizing its integration into the global neo-liberal economy.


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*Published in JOURNAL OF GLOBAL ANALYSIS (JGA) | VOL. 3 | NO. 2
© Copyright 2012 by CESRAN
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