Saturday, 9 August 2008

One China, Four Seats (in the WTO); One Country, Two Candidates.

On July 31st, the WTO announced that the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures has finally resolved the "long-standing issue" of vacancies on the Permanent Group of Exports (PEG). The stalemate started in 2005 when China blocked the nomination of Prof. Lo Changfa, former dean of the law school of National Taiwan University and the most distinguished WTO authority in Taiwan. In retaliation, Taiwan tried to block China's candidate to the AB last November (for some background info on this, see here). With the victory of the KMT over the pro-independent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan this spring, it seems that, to the relief of most WTO Members, the political back-stabbing days between China and the Separate Customs Territory of TPKM (Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, which is, BTW, the official name of Taiwan in the WTO) are finally over. China finally agreed to give Taiwan a break by unblocking the Taiwanese candidates. In return, Taiwan also agreed to support Prof. Zhang Yuqing, who is China's candidate to the same body. Thus, now the small group of five experts counts two Chinese among its members, with China and Taiwan sharing the glory. In a similar vein, two officials from China and Taiwan were elected to chair the TBT and TRIMS committee in April this year. Will this "one country, two candidates" arrangement work in the future?

No comments: