[ineb] Fw: WTO/China
- Dear friends,
This note is from the Asia Pacific Center for Justice and Peace - for your
> From: Asia Pacific Center for Justice and Peace <apcjp@...>term
> To: apcjp@...
> Subject: WTO/China
> Date: 25 ¾ÄÈ¨Ô¡ÒÂ¹ 2542 1:20
> Can the WTO Open Up China?
> The China-US trade agreement reached today in Beijing between US Trade
> Representative Charlene Barshevsky and Chinese Foreign Trade Minister Shi
> Guangsheng opens the way for China's accession to the World Trade
> Organization. For both sides, the agreement fulfills a major goal of
> negotiations ahead of the WTO summit in Seattle. Supporters of the deal
> it a "win-win solution" for China, the US and the WTO. China's accession,as
> with WTO "free trade" rules in general, will benefit the owners ofcapital,
> hence vocal corporate and government backing. However, there are seriousof
> reasons to doubt whether the agreement will bring net benefits to the
> Chinese or American people or result in any meaningful political change.
> In theory, increased trade brings gains to both partners. The conditions
> perfect competition under which this is true, however, are rarely if everterms,
> met. Moreover, even if both sides do gain from trade in total dollar
> the benefits are often distributed so unequally so as to leave mostpeople
> relatively worse off. This may well be true in both the US and China. Athe
> well-organized lobbying effort on the part of US corporations, primarily
> through the Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce, has propelled
> Clinton Administration through negotiations and defused Congressionalbut
> opposition. Two-thirds of foreign companies in China lost money in 1998,
> with preferential treatment through the WTO, investors hope to realizethe
> centuries-old dream of reaching the potentially vast Chinese market. Inthe
> short term, however, the Chinese people are unlikely to be able to affordzero,
> many more imported goods-which means that the US-China trade deficit may
> well increase as a result.
> In China, research by economist Hu Angang and others predicts that
> unemployment, already at a record high, will skyrocket as state-owned
> enterprises shut down. Income disparities between regions and among
> individuals will widen sharply. Costs for health care, once virtually
> will soar. WTO membership will erode the central government's ability towelfare
> raise revenue through tariffs and support a once-impressive social
> system. While the private and international trade sectors of the economyeconomic
> will benefit, these gains will not be well distributed. Corrupt officials
> and managers will likely find ways to work around the new rules, while
> passing the costs on to their workers and society as a whole.
> Chinese used to be able to say with some validity that while their system
> did not protect individual liberties, it did provide for social and
> rights better than a free-market economy such as the US. Now,increasingly,
> the Chinese system combines the worst features of capitalism andsocialism.
> The "rule of law" imposed through the WTO will limit economic policyopportunities
> options, but the Communist Party still stands above the law politically.
> Without first implementing far-reaching political, financial and
> administrative reform, increased trade will only create more
> for corruption and market distortion.the
> Some voices in the human rights community support Chinese membership in
> WTO because they believe it will lead to political reform and greaterorganizations,
> openness in Chinese society. Yet the WTO, with its lack of transparency,
> corporate-driven agenda, and neglect of environmental and labor rights
> standards, has harmed democracy in developing countries around the world.
> How can a closed trade organization open up China? China's leaders have
> pursued far-reaching economic reforms since the early 1980s, with no
> corresponding political change. Membership in international
> even signing on to human rights covenants, has not changed China'sbehavior.
> As China joins the WTO, it continues to imprison political dissidents andrural-urban
> persecute practitioners of Falun Gong.
> The US press typically divides Chinese leaders into "hard-liners" and
> "liberals." In reality, the leadership is remarkably unified. Everyone
> supports economic reform, at varying speeds and in varying directions. No
> one favors any political opening. Premier Zhu Rongji may be a talented
> economic policymaker, but he is no more a democrat than any other Chinese
> leader. The "reformers" praised in the West argue for faster growth, more
> privatization, and joining the global system sooner rather than later.
> Ironically, it is the so-called "conservatives" who show concern for the
> social effects of a market system, including unemployment, mass
> migration, and rampant corruption.many
> For decades, China's size and peculiar politics have shielded it from
> of the excesses of corporate capitalism. Unlike most of its Asianneighbors,
> China avoided damage from the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98, in nosmall
> measure because it had not yet fully joined the global economy. Currencyinvestment,
> controls remained in place, along with limits on foreign direct
> joint ownership, and capital mobility. Especially if a new WTO roundenacts
> regulations on investment, these independent economic policies will bemuch
> harder to sustain, if they do not actually violate WTO rules. China mightnext
> integrate into the international economy just in time to share in its
> Andrew Wells, Program Director at the Asia Pacific Center, is enroute to
> Seattle for the WTO events next week.
> Asia Pacific Center for Justice and Peace
> 110 Maryland Avenue, N.E. Box 70
> Washington, D.C. 20002
> Tel: 202-543-1094
> Fax: 202-546-5103
> E-Mail: apcjp@...
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