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China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been hailed as the biggest coming-out party in the history of capitalism. Its membership will contribute eventually to higher standards of living for its citizens and increased growth for its economy. However, why would the Chinese communist regime voluntarily agree to comply with the many complex rules of the global trading system, since it has already become the world's seventh largest trading country while avoiding these constraints by remaining outside the system? The answer to this question forms the basis for this volume. It explores the many pressures on the Chinese government, both external and internal, to comply with the standards of the rule-based international trading system. It points out that prior to entry into the WTO, China enjoyed high growth rates and more foreign direct investment than any other emerging economy.
Nicholas R. Lardy is a senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics and a former senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies program at the Brookings Institution. His previous books include China in the World Economy (Institute for International Economics, 1994) and Foreign Trade and Economic Reform in China, 1978-1990 (Cambridge, 1992).