CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

The Planner in Action: China’s Influence as a Developing and Non-Market Economy on the WTO

Lauren Shapiro, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Ellen Kennedy

Date of this Version: 01 April 2016



Chinese accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 forever altered the international economy as it marked the political-economic diversification of international trade negotiations and law. Before the implications of Chinese accession became apparent, scholars predicted that Chinese WTO membership would greatly affect the Organization. While this thesis agrees with this general sentiment, it insists that China’s effect on the WTO is not wholly negative or positive and requires a nuanced, sub-institutional assessment to understand. Qualifying and expanding upon scholars’ pre-2001 predictions, this thesis argues that for the most part, China did not proactively cause instances of institutional weakness and organizational ineffectuality. Rather, China’s behavior within the WTO illuminates the Organization’s inherent inability to handle political-economic diversity. Further, this thesis argues that the original dispute settlement rules and procedures created to handle China no longer apply uniformly to the Chinese economic situation. China exists in a liminal space between socialism and capitalism, and the WTO is still unable to fully and adequately handle this political-economic ambiguity.


Asian Studies | Comparative and Foreign Law | International Economics | International Law | International Relations | International Trade Law | Law and Economics | Law and Politics | Political Economy

Suggested Citation

Shapiro, Lauren, "The Planner in Action: China’s Influence as a Developing and Non-Market Economy on the WTO" 01 April 2016. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 20 June 2016




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