A World Trade Organization (WTO) panel ruled earlier this year that China was violating its obligations in restricting exports of several raw materials. In an email interview, Terence Stewart, an expert in international trade law at the law firm Stewart and Stewart, discussed China's compliance with its WTO obligations.
WPR: What has been China's track record on compliance with its WTO obligations since its accession in 2001?
Terence Stewart: China's accession to the WTO has been a great experiment for the global trading system. Many of China's obligations were phased in, so not all obligations were in place by late-2001. In many areas, such as tariff reductions and changes to various laws and regulations, China has made substantial progress and been viewed as largely in compliance with its obligations. However, in many other areas, including intellectual property enforcement, transparency, adherence to various protocol provisions -- including eliminating most export duties and other export restraints -- there have been major concerns about compliance, a series of WTO challenges on violations and a perception of backsliding by the Chinese government.