Between Market Economy & State Capitalism: China’s State-Owned Enterprises & World Trading System

EAI Seminar on Zoom
Organised by East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore

0:00:16 - Introduction by Prof Bert Hofman
0:02:31 - Seminar by Prof Henry Gao
0:21:33 - Q & A

Between Market Economy and State Capitalism: China’s State-Owned Enterprises and the World Trading System

Prof Henry Gao
Professor of Law, Yong Pung How School of Law, Singapore Management University

Date & Time:
Monday, 29 May 2023
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

One major issue facing the world trading system today is how to deal with the challenge of China’s state capitalism. Many commentators believe that the existing World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules are insufficient and new rules are needed. The speaker’s recently released book, Between Market Economy and State Capitalism: China’s State-Owned Enterprises and the World Trading System, challenges this conventional wisdom. Through meticulous studies and fresh analyses of the commitments in China’s WTO accession package, existing rules on state capitalism in WTO agreements and recent attempts to make new rules on these issues at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels, the speaker argues in the book that existing WTO rules, especially those on subsidies, coupled with China-specific rules in its accession protocol, do provide feasible tools to counter China’s state capitalism. The speaker will also highlight the discussions on why there is a lack of usage of these rules, providing concrete policy suggestions on how the rules may be better utilised and how constructive negotiations on new rules in the WTO and beyond could be conducted.

About the Speaker:
Henry Gao is Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University and Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. With law degrees from three continents, he started his career as the first Chinese lawyer at the WTO Secretariat. He has been an adviser on trade issues for many national governments as well as the WTO, UN, World Bank, ADB, APEC, ASEAN and the World Economic Forum. Prof Gao has published widely on China and WTO and digital trade issues and is currently sitting on the Advisory Board of the WTO Chairs Programme, as well as the editorial boards of the Journal of International Economic Law and Journal of Financial Regulation. His new book, Between Market Economy and State Capitalism: China’s State-Owned Enterprises and the World Trading System, was published by Cambridge University Press in November 2022.

About the Moderator:
Prof Bert Hofman, a Dutch national, is Director of the East Asian Institute at NUS and Professor of Practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Before joining NUS, he was with the World Bank for 27 years, 22 of which in Asia, and 12 of which on China. Prof Hofman was the World Bank Country Director for China 2014-2019, the Country Economist 2004-2008, and the Chief Economist for the World Bank in the East Asia and Pacific region 2011-2014. He also worked on Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea and Mongolia. Before joining the World Bank, Prof Hofman worked at the Kiel Institute of World Economics, The OECD and NMB Bank (Now ING). He has extensive experience in advising governments around the region on a wide range of development issues, and published on fiscal policy, debt issues, and China’s and Indonesia’s recent economic history.
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