Mavroidis, Petros C. and Andre Sapir. China and the WTO: Why Multilateralism Still Matters. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2021. x + 242 pages. Paperback, $27.95..

AuthorWang, Yongsheng

This book is a timely reading from Professors Petros Mavroidis and Andre Sapir. They provide a detailed account of China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and review the growth of China, post-accession, including rising concerns and challenges. The solution proposed is multilateralism. The authors believe it is time to negotiate a new WTO deal with exclusive requirement on state-owned enterprises (SOE) and technology transfer (TT). Arguing against Thucydides' Trap, the authors referenced the current multilateral rules-based system and the cost of unilateral behavior. Although acknowledging trade is part of the wider theme of international relations, they emphasized that the enduring cooperation should be carried out through the WTO.

There are seven chapters in the book besides the introduction and concluding remarks. From the beginning (Chapter 1), the book starts with historical information on the tie between China and the WTO and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), its predecessor, and the euphoria its member countries showed toward this new member at its accession. It provides a background for the readers to understand the context for later-on challenges. Following the historical review, it explores the details of this trade conflict in Chapter 2 by focusing on two main concerns: SOE and TT and revealing the limit of the current WTO legal regime in resolving these two items. As a comparison, Chapter 3 examines accession cases to WTO/GATT from other countries such as former Soviet bloc countries, Arab countries, and Japan. There are both similarities and differences of the experiences between these countries, especially, Japan and China. Chapters 4 and 5 discussed courses of action already taken by countries, e.g., United States, and the ones proposed by academia. It argues against unilateral threats, tariffs, the "do nothing" suggestion, and further affirms the gaps in the WTO Protocol of Accession which implies that it is not legally and policy-wise possible to resolve this dispute in its current form. Subsequently, Chapter 6 starts with how to change the course of action with proposals on changing WTO rules. It clearly states that this amendment of the rules should not be China-specific and should address SOE and TT concerns explicitly for all members. At the end, Chapter 7 iterates the urgency of actions amid further changes of the economy in China. The authors believe that rule-based trading system is the...

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