China is the world’s largest exporter and as the country’s exports have grown, so has the number of disagreements with its trading partners. An article in The Economist on the rising number of disputes that China has brought to the World Trade Organization says that it is a good thing that Beijing and other emerging markets are turning to the WTO to settle disputes instead of retaliating on their own. But can the WTO’s dispute settlement system cool mounting tensions with China?
Chad Bown, author of Self-Enforcing Trade, argues “that America or the EU may still find disputes with China tricky. Countries often threaten to target their retaliation against politically-sensitive products, hoping that their manufacturers will convince their own governments to change course. But this sort of strategy may be more difficult in a dispute with undemocratic China.”