Chinese leaders resolved to develop a better understanding of the dispute settlement process by actively participating as a third party in real WTO cases. For instance, China was present as a third party in nearly every panel between 2003 and 2006 (Birkbeck 168). The improved confidence reflects from the answer of Bo Xilai, the Minister of MOFCOM when he was asked if there was any intention of complaining against the countries that were limiting the textile exports of China in the WTO, “ First, China has the right to resort to WTO dispute settlement mechanism.
We should not hesitate to use this right when needed. Second, while bilateral consultation has its own benefits, if each side sticks to its own view, the problem won’ t be solved as there is no neutral arbiter. Thus, in addition to one-to-one consultations, sometimes it’ s more effective to have the disputes reviewed in the multilateral setting. Third, the restrictions against Chinese products are inconsistent with WTO rules and discriminatory. ” (Xilia cited in Birkbeck 169). China took a radical step ahead to enter the rule shaking phase in March 2006 when Canada, the US, and the EU raised a combined complaint about Auto Parts against China (Cooney 17).
China fought the case rather than submitting to the complainants like it used to do before. Similarly, the Chinese leaders fought other cases like the TRIPS case and the Publications and Audiovisual Products case, thus shaking the rules governing trade in the international system. China had to accept some harsh terms as a price paid for being accessed to WTO. China may face challenges in using the process of multilateral negotiation to alter these harsh terms.
This left the Chinese leaders with one option only; to challenge the prevailing rules and minimize their negative effects by interpreting them creatively in the dispute settlement proceedings in WTO. Since September 2008, Chinese leaders have filed five cases of which, four aimed at changing the prevailing rules in general and the Accession Protocol of China in particular (Gao).
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