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Special feature: China's WTO Decade

China and the WTO Dispute Settlement System

The Global Trade Lawyer and the State Capitalist
Leïla Choukroune
p. 49-57


Since its accession to the WTO on 11 December 2001, China has been involved in eight cases as complainant, 23 as respondent, and 89 as a third party. Against all pre-entry predictions, the China-related cases have not overburdened the WTO dispute settlement system, as if all parties were implicitly respecting a latent period before engaging in commercial hostilities. Often portrayed as a “passive rule taker” in the immediate aftermath of its accession, China was not only learning by attentively watching other members’ strategies, but also benefiting from the benevolent attitude of its main trading partners, the US and the EU. Moreover, its participation in 89 WTO disputes as third party is not a trivial detail nor is it a sign of passivity, but rather one of cautious preparation that corresponded to the time needed to properly apprehend its new legal tools and all rights thereunder.
While there are many ways of approaching such an already vast body of decisions and related legal and economic literature, this article tries to reflect the uniqueness of the Chinese trade regime and the impact of such a peculiar mix between economic libreralisation and maintenance of the state on other WTO Members in addressing the following questions: the transitional product-specific safeguard measures adopted in reaction to a market disruption caused by Chinese imports, the antidumping and countervailing duties issue, and the restrictions on exportations or importations imposed by China for economic, but also societal and political reasons.

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Leïla Choukroune, « China and the WTO Dispute Settlement System », China Perspectives, 2012/1 | 2012, 49-57.

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Leïla Choukroune, « China and the WTO Dispute Settlement System », China Perspectives [En ligne], 2012/1 | 2012, mis en ligne le 30 mars 2015, consulté le 22 juin 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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Leïla Choukroune

Doctorate in International Law from Paris Sorbonne Law School, Lawyer Paris Bar. She teaches international economic law at Maastricht University. She is Deputy Director of the Institute for Globalization and Economic Regulation (IGIR). Her research deals with the interactions between trade, investment and human rights with a special interest for the emerging world and Asia, China and India in particular, where she has lived and visits very frequently.

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