China Cannot Have Its Cake and Eat It Too

Charles Archie

Volume 37 - Issue 1, Fall 2011


Today, the Peoples Republic of China ("PRC") upholds a strong governmental tradition of autonomy and self-reliance that extends as far back as imperial China. That "me-first" attitude is hard to reconcile with the promises and obligations the modern nation-states made in part through a system of extra-territorial treaties and organizations designed with global interests in mind. However, it is also somewhat understandable given the precarious state of social and economic development within the PRC as well as the tenuous global economic system in which the PRC operates.

There has been much hand-wringing in the media and academic circles over the PRC’s general economic policy over the past several years. Concern exists over the lack of reform the PRC has committed to with regard to its currency policy. Essentially, China’s rigid currency devaluation limits the ability of China’s trade partners to compete with China in providing competitively priced goods and services to global consumers. This appears incongruous with China’s commitments and obligations as a member of the WTO and other extra-national organizations, creating conflicts between China and its global trading partners.

This paper discusses the conflict that has proliferated specifically between the United States and China over China’s perceived inability to conform its economic policies to its international obligations. It further discusses developments in both nations that underlie this conflict, as well as possible solutions between the countries, including WTO dispute involvement. It concludes by providing a preferred means of redress and resolution.

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