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GLOBE Webinar: China and the WTO: Why Multilateralism Still Matters
Petros C. Mavroidis (Columbia Law School) and André Sapir (Université Libre de Bruxelles) join the GLOBE Webinar Series to discuss their book, 'China and the WTO: Why Multilateralism Still Matters' (Princeton University Press, 2021).

About the book: China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 was rightly hailed as a huge step forward in international cooperation. However, China’s participation in the WTO has been anything but smooth, with China alienating some of its trading partners, particularly the United States. The mismatch between the WTO framework and China’s economic model has undermined the WTO’s ability to mitigate tensions arising from China’s size and rapid growth. What has to change? China and the WTO demonstrates that unilateral pressure, by the United States and others, is not the answer. Instead, Petros Mavroidis and André Sapir show that if the WTO enacts judicious reforms, it could induce China’s cooperation, leading to a renewed confidence in the WTO system. The WTO and its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, are predicated on liberal domestic policies. They managed the previous accessions of socialist countries and big trading nations, but none were as large or powerful as China. Mavroidis and Sapir contend that for the WTO to function smoothly and accommodate China’s unique geopolitical position, it needs to translate some of its implicit principles into explicit treaty language. To make their point, they focus on two core complaints – that Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) benefit from unfair trade advantages, and that domestic companies, private as well as SOEs, impose forced technology transfer on foreign companies as a condition for accessing the Chinese market – and they lay out specific proposals for WTO reforms. In an age of global trade disputes, China and the WTO offers a timely exploration of unprecedented challenges to the current multilateral system and fresh ideas for lasting solutions.

Sep 13, 2022 04:00 PM in Brussels

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Petros C. Mavroidis
Edwin B. Parker Professor of Foreign & Comparative Law @Columbia University Law School
Petros C. Mavroidis is Edwin B. Parker Professor of Foreign & Comparative Law at Columbia Law School. Previously, he served as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) legal affairs division from 1992 to 1995 and has been a legal adviser to the WTO since 1996. He was the chief co-rapporteur for the American Law Institute study “Principles of International Trade: The WTO” (2013).
André Sapir
Professor @Université libre de Bruxelles
André Sapir is Professor of economics at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Senior Fellow at Bruegel, and Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London. Between 1990 and 2004, he worked for the European Commission, first as Economic Advisor to the Director-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, and then as Principal Economic Advisor to President Prodi, also heading his Economic Advisory Group. In 2004, he published 'An Agenda for a Growing Europe', a report to the president of the Commission by a group of independent experts that is known as the Sapir report. After leaving the Commission, he first served as External Member of President Barroso’s Economic Advisory Group and then as Member of the General Board (and Chair of the Advisory Scientific Committee) of the European Systemic Risk Board based at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.