China and the Doha Development Agenda

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1309-1331
Journal / PublicationJournal of World Trade
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


In contrast to early predictions during its accession, China has not sought to play a leadership role in the Doha Round negotiations or to rewrite WTO rules in a systemic manner. However, China's role in the negotiations came into prominence during the 'mini-ministerial' held in Geneva in July 2008. Now included in the seven-member group (G-7), China came under fire from the United States and the European Union for failing to demonstrate greater leadership. This article seeks to explain the nature of that criticism and argues that over-reliance on the question of 'Chinese leadership' as an explanatory concept could aggravate broader misperceptions about China's position in the Doha Round. According to these misperceptions, China has 'broken cover' and that it has become more 'assertive' while becoming more 'protectionist'. In other words, there is the view today that China has emerged as a fresh obstacle to the conclusion of the Doha Round talks. This article analyses that misreading and argues that an analysis of China's position in the negotiations must be tempered by a more nuanced understanding of certain tensions and mixed positions within China's overall approach. The article seeks to explain China's current position in the goods negotiations, on agriculture and non-agricultural market access, and in the services and rules negotiations. It also tries to explain the complexities of China's alignment with developing country members and how that is likely to translate into various negotiating positions on specific issues. Finally, the article discusses a range of factors that are likely to play an important, continuing role in shaping China's perception of specific trade issues and, more importantly, its perception of the overall worth of an eventual outcome to the Doha Round. These range from China's reflections on the success of the 2001 accession process, its domestic political constraints, the emergence of a successful FTA programme, and resort to out-of- WTO aid for developing country nations, as well as the potential longer term impact of the current global economic crisis.© 2010 Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands.

Citation Format(s)

China and the Doha Development Agenda. / LIM, C.L.; WANG, JiangYu.

In: Journal of World Trade, Vol. 44, No. 6, 2010, p. 1309-1331.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review