The World Trade Organization (WTO), created to provide an arena for the peaceful settlement of trade disputes, is at the center of much of the debate over U.S. trade policy toward China. There are questions about China’s compliance with the terms of its 2001 WTO accession. There are charges that the WTO has proven useless in addressing Chinese violations of these terms, or that it is simply not equipped to do so. Some question whether China should have ever been admitted to the WTO in the first place.
What are the facts? How should China’s compliance or non-compliance with its obligations be quantified and characterized? Can the WTO be used to address the areas where Chinese compliance continues to lag? Might the U.S. make better use of the WTO in the current U.S.–China trade impasse? Are there areas where the WTO can be reformed to better address challenges raised by China’s state-led economic model?
A former chief judge at the WTO and two representatives of the American business community addressed an audience at The Heritage Foundation on September 26, 2018, to explain some of the complexities of the issues, and suggest how to navigate the road ahead.
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