WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION: Observations on China's Rule of Law Reforms
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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Many elements in Chinas WTO accession agreement seek to improve the rule of law. When China joined the WTO, China agreed to ensure that its legal measures would be consistent with its WTO obligations. In our analysis of Chinas WTO commitments, we found at least 60 commitments that specifically obligate China to enact, repeal, or modify trade-related laws or regulations. In addition, China has made a substantial number of other WTO commitments related to the rule of law areas of transparency, judicial review, uniform enforcement of laws, and nondiscriminatory treatment. Chinese government officials have emphasized their commitment to make WTO-related reforms that will strengthen the rule of law. They described how their efforts for reform go beyond Chinas WTO commitments and include broad reforms of laws and regulations at the national and provincial levels, as well as reforms of judicial and administrative procedures. However, Chinese officials acknowledged the challenges they face in completing the necessary reforms, including the capacity of the government to carry out new functions in a timely manner. In addition, despite an extensive training program about WTO-related reforms throughout the country, officials identified the need for outside assistance, because they lacked the expertise and capacity to meet all their training needs themselves.
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