The integration of the Protocol of Accession of China into the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement and its annexes is subject to great debate. The area of anti-subsidy law is, however, largely exempt from scientific discussion. With respect to the use of alternative benchmark methodologies in the process of calculating the amount of subsidy, the relationship between general and China-specific legislation – Article 14 ASCM and Section 15 (b) CAP – is deemed satisfactorily provided for in China’s Accession Protocol. But recent WTO Appellate Body jurisprudence allowing alternative benchmarking in general WTO anti-subsidy law has upset this relationship enormously – and then abandoned it. The expected surge of countervailing duties prompted by the 2016 expiry of alternative methodologies in Chinese WTO antidumping law will rather sooner than later confront WTO judiciary with the question: which is China’s applicable anti-subsidy law on price comparability of today?
This article contributes to answering this question by bringing together Section 15 (b) CAP and Article 14 ASCM and tracing the applicable legal framework. Comparing both provisions in their present shapes also touches upon another issue: is the reluctance to invoke Section 15 (b) CAP still justified?Journal of World Trade