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China and the World Trade Organization

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For nine long years China made determined but unsuccessful efforts to rejoin GATT, having gone through 21 rounds of protracted negotiations. China failed to become a founding member of WTO when it superseded GATT in January 1995. In 1989 GATT was about to work out the final terms of protocol for China's entry as a reforming socialist economy. But the Tiananmen event made the developed country members, led by the US, politicize the issue of China's membership. They also wanted to prise open the vast China market as a condition for China's entry; i.e. China to be admitted as a developed economy. China for its part regarded the price of its WTO membership as too exorbitant without being allowed a reasonable timetable for adjustment. Minister Wu Yi considered the US demands ‘absolutely unacceptable’. Hence the impasse over China's WTO membership continued.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Institute of East Asian Political Economy

Publication date: November 1, 1996

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