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Special feature: China's WTO Decade

China's Participation in WTO Negotiations

Henry Gao
p. 59-65


In November 2001, China finally acceded to the World Trade Organization after a marathon accession negotiation that lasted 15 years. As China’s accession coincided with the launch of the Doha Round, many commentators predicted that China’s participation in the trade negotiations would have significant impacts on the Round. However, this has not proven to be the case. What have been the approaches taken by China in global trade negotiations? Why did China adopt these approaches? How did China’s different negotiating approaches affect the dynamics of trade negotiations? These are the questions addressed in this article. The paper argues that China started as a reluctant player in the negotiations, and only gradually made its way into the core decision-making group of the WTO rather late during the round. Even though China has now been accepted as a member of the G-7, the most powerful group in the WTO, it has been playing only supportive rather than leading roles. The article explains the reasons for such low profile approaches, and also examines the value of Chinese proposals from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives. The article concludes with some thoughts on the broader implications of China’s growing power in the WTO as a whole.

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Bibliographical reference

Henry Gao, « China's Participation in WTO Negotiations », China Perspectives, 2012/1 | 2012, 59-65.

Electronic reference

Henry Gao, « China's Participation in WTO Negotiations », China Perspectives [Online], 2012/1 | 2012, Online since 23 August 2012, connection on 22 May 2022. URL : ; DOI :

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About the author

Henry Gao

Associate Professor, School of Law, Singapore Management University; Dongfang Scholar Chair Professor, Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade; LL.M. (University College London); J.D. (Vanderbilt). The author wishes to thank Pierre-Henry de Bruyn and the anonymous reviewer for their most helpful comments. All errors remain the author’s own. The author can be reached by email at

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