Skip to main content Accessibility help

The Treatment of Chinese SOEs in China's WTO Protocol of Accession

  • PHILIP I. LEVY (a1)


The two central issues in China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) were its economic size and the large role the state had played in economic decisions – the treatment of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) as central to addressing the latter point. While the Protocol of Accession imposed obligations on China that went beyond what was required of other WTO members, it has not been effective at resolving concerns about Chinese SOEs. This demonstrates, in part, the limitations in using the WTO as a vehicle to promote economic reform.


Corresponding author


Hide All

I benefited from comments at Columbia Law School's Trade Seminar; all remaining errors are my own.



Hide All
Autor, D. H., Dorn, D., and Hanson, G. H. (2013), ‘The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States’, The American Economic Review, 103(6): 21212168.
Bailey, T. (2016), ‘Could Market Economy Status for China Spell Disaster for Europe?’, EuropeanCEO,, 15 July.
Bajona, C. and Chu, Tianshu (2004), ‘China's WTO Accession and Its Effect on State-Owned Enterprises’, East–West Center Working Papers, No. 70, April.
Blumental, D. (1997), ‘“Reform” or “Opening”? Reform of China's State-Owned Enterprises and WTO Accession – The Dilemma of Applying GATT to Marketing Economies’, Pacific Basin Law Journal, 16(2).
Drache, D. (2000), ‘The Short but Significant Life of the International Trade Organization: Lessons for Our Time’, Working paper no 62, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick.
Grimmett, J. J. (2011), ‘Chinese Tire Imports: Section 421 Safeguards and the World Trade Organization (WTO)’, Congressional Research Service, R40844, 12 July.
Hufbauer, G. (1998), ‘China as an Economic Actor on the World Stage: An Overview’, in Abbott, F. (ed.), China in the World Trading System: Defining the Principles of Engagement, Kluwer Law International.
Lardy, N. R. (2001), ‘Issues in China's WTO Accession’, Testimony,, 9 May.
Levy, P. I. (2016), ‘The Next FDI Firestorm’, World of Cents Blog,, 1 March.
MacGregor, J. (2010), ‘China's Drive for Indigenous Innovation – A Web of Industrial Policies’, US Chamber of Commerce.
Mavroidis, P. C. and Cottier, T. (1999), ‘State Trading in the Twenty-First Century: An Overview’, in Cottier, T., Mavroidis, P. C., and Schefer, K. (eds.), Studies in International Economics : State Trading in the Twenty-First Century, The World Trade Forum, Volume 1, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Pierce, J. R. and Schott, P. K. (2016), ‘The Surprisingly Swift Decline of US Manufacturing Employment’, American Economic Review, 106(7): 16321662.
Qin, J. Y. (2004), ‘WTO Regulation of Subsidies to State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) – A Critical Appraisal of the China Accession Protocol’, Journal of International Economic Law, 7(4): 863919.
Srinivasan, T. N. (1998), Developing Countries and the Multilateral Trading System, Boulder, CO: Westview.
Van Aaken, A. (2013), ‘Blurring Boundaries between Sovereign Acts and Commercial Activities: A Functional View on Regulatory Immunity and Immunity from Execution’, Law and Economics Research Paper Series, Working Paper No. 2013-17, March, University of St. Gallen Law School.
Wei, L. and Page, J. (2016), ‘Discord Between China's Top Two Leaders Spills Into the Open’, Wall Street Journal, 22 July.
World Trade Organization (2001a), ‘Report of the Working Party on the Accession of China’, WT/ACC/CHN/49, 1 October 2001.
World Trade Organization (2001b), ‘Accession of the People's Republic of China’, WT/L/432, 23 November 2001.
World Trade Organization (2014), ‘Counter-Notification of the State Trading Enterprises of China Pursuant to Paragraph 4 of the Understanding on the Interpretation of Article XVII’, G/C/W/701, G/STR/Q1/CHN/2.
World Trade Organization (2016a), ‘Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement)’, (accessed 13 October 2016).
World Trade Organization (2016b), ‘State Trading Enterprises’, (accessed 13 October 2016).
World Trade Organization (2016c), ‘Legal effect of panel and appellate body reports and DSB recommendations and rulings’, Dispute Settlement Training System, Chapter 7, (accessed 15 October 2016).

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

The Treatment of Chinese SOEs in China's WTO Protocol of Accession

  • PHILIP I. LEVY (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.