In 2009, China stood at the center stage of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement, accounting alone for half of new disputes. From three perspectives, this article examines China’s endeavors since WTO accession to respond challenges and support its meaningful participation in WTO dispute settlement. On ideological level, the prevailing attitude toward WTO dispute settlement in China remains legalistic and positive, but this article observes that pragmatism is rising and may lead to inconsistencies of China’s behavior in the future. Concerning institution and capacity building, China is currently equipped with initially fledging internal mechanisms, growing in-house legal capacities and expanding societal supports, and has swelling potentials to compete with its fellow WTO members. However, outside legal expertise is still needed. On the issue of government and industry interaction, China has established a formal mechanism, but its utility has not yet been proven, with only one unsatisfactory instance suggesting reform is needed, not just more time. This article argues that China will likely continue to be a leading actor in WTO dispute settlement and suggests that developing country members might benefit from a consideration of China’s experience.
Global Trade and Customs Journal