Abstract

After 14 years of negotiations, China acceded to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on December 11, 2001. A key step in negotiation of the final agreement, the U.S.-China bilateral agreement, was reached on November 15, 1999, and is generally regarded as the core of the final agreement. Because this document was made public at the time the agreement was reached, whereas other bilateral agreements have not been, there has been greater opportunity to assess its impact, and some of the material referenced below is based on this bilateral agreement. More recently, an official summary by the WTO of the entire agreement has been released, and the first outside assessments of the entire agreement are now becoming available (WTO, 2001). Some additional information is available on the bilateral agreements with the European Union and with other countries, even though the texts of these agreements have not been made public. The summary of the key features of the agreement below is based on the WTO summary and, to a lesser extent, the U.S.-China bilateral agreement (Boxes 12.1 and 12.2 provide additional detail):