Thursday, April 8, 2021

Shaffer: Governing the Interface of US-China Trade Relations

Gregory Shaffer (Univ. of California, Irvine - Law) has posted Governing the Interface of US-China Trade Relations (American Journal of International Law, forthcoming). Here's the abstract:
The U.S.-China relationship poses a frontal challenge to the multilateral trading system. This article addresses three dimensions for conceptualizing the interface between the U.S. and Chinese systems through trade law: (i) economic; (ii) geopolitical/security; and (iii) normative/social. By the economic interface, it refers to the U.S. critique of Chinese state capitalism, and in particular the use of state-owned enterprises and subsidies. By the geopolitical/security interface, it covers U.S. concerns over China as a rising technological power. By the normative/social policy interface, it references reactions to Chinese authoritarianism and human rights violations, which indirectly implicate U.S. workers and the U.S. social bargain through U.S. purchases of Chinese products. The article advances a middle ground between those working to reinforce the WTO system with new rules that limit the state’s role in the economy, and those who reject the WTO in favor of a power-based system to confront China. It proposes pragmatic reforms to govern the interface of their respective systems across the three dimensions in ways that would facilitate ongoing exchange while assuring latitude for each country to protect itself from the externalities of each other’s policies. The result would be greater room for bilateral and plurilateral bargaining, but it would be conducted within the umbrella of the multilateral system.