Open for business? China's telecommunications service market and the WTO
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China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 after almost 15 years of negotiations, making extensive commitments to open its markets to foreign investment and liberalize trade in goods and services. China represents a huge potential market for foreign telecommunications service providers; yet, in practice, foreign involvement in this market is extremely limited. This article identifies key commercial and legal barriers to foreign entry into China's telecommunications service market, exploring areas of apparent non-compliance with WTO rules and China's justifications for its current approach. This research provides a case study of China's WTO compliance, the significance of obligations contained in China's Accession Protocol, and the meaning of Members' WTO commitments more generally under the General Agreement on Trade in Services. The article raises important considerations for China as it finalizes its telecommunications law, which has been in the drafting stages for many years.
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