Volume 44 (2016) / Issue 6/7
After the accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), China encountered an increasing number of international trade disputes with other Members with respect to Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM). Among all the countervailing investigations towards China, the main complaints were Chinese tax incentives such as specific tax reductions and exemptions, or tax preferences related to export or import. This article introduces the general situation of Chinese direct tax incentives, and their compatibility with subsidy rules in the WTO. Further, it attempts to find out tensions between the Chinese direct tax incentives and the WTO’s subsidy rules, and the main reasons behind the tensions. Consequently, it provides recommendations for China to alleviate the tensions. On the other hand, it offers further prospect for the WTO with respect to its subsidy rules and its role in regulating taxation. This article finds out that there are tensions between the Chinese tax incentives and the WTO’s system. China has a state-oriented attitude towards tax incentives, and there is a lack of internal legal control over the granting of them. Therefore, Chinese tax incentives can easily cause tensions with the WTO’s subsidy rules. Moreover, the tensions can be explained by the differences of the relationship between the government and the market, and the differences on the rule of law in China and the WTO system. Consequently, this article suggests a common platform based on the common objects and purposes of Chinese tax systems and the WTO to alleviate tensions.
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