Compliance with Chinese characteristics : evaluating China's compliance record with regard to WTO-related liberalization commitments in the life insurance sector

Shields, Justin M. (2006-03)

Thesis (MA (Political Science ))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.

Thesis

The accession of the China to the World Trade Organization represents one of the most significant political-economic events since the close of the Cold War. China’s distinctive political and socio-economic history has made its process of accession unlike that of any other member-nation of the WTO. This study aims to answer the questions of how and to what extent has China complied with its WTO commitments that apply to the life insurance sector. In order to answer these questions, this study employs the qualitative method of evaluation of describing China’s post-accession behavior then comparing that behavior to the liberalization commitments contained in China’s accession protocol and its service schedule. Upon examination of the evidence, it appears that China has been partially compliant with the WTO-related commitments in the life insurance sector. China’s compliance with market access commitments in area of ownership structure exhibits a compromise between the interests of other WTO members. China’s liberalization of geographic restrictions shows that China’s interest in even development of its insurance market also figures into its decision to comply. China’s compliance with commitments regarding licensing, however, appears to show a maneuvering around obligations in order to protect the domestic life insurance industry. While rational functionalist approaches are more helpful in explaining China’s compliance behavior in regards to market access commitments, constructivist normative approaches are more in explaining China’s compliance behavior in regards to its general commitments. Compliance behavior with regard to transparency-related commitments in the life insurance sector reflects socialization or an adjustment to the WTO-norm of transparency. Compliance behavior in with regard to judicial review-related commitments in the life insurance sector reflects an adjustment to the WTO-norm in policy, but this norm is rarely observed in practice. In sum, China’s compliance behavior in regards to commitments in the life insurance sector has generally been compliant with few exceptions. However, all judgments on compliance are generally subject because they reflect the interests of the parties involved. The true test of China’s compliance will begin after full accession in 2007, when WTO members are allowed to files cases against China in the WTO dispute resolution panel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/3370
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