On 20thOctober 2018, the China-EU school of law in Beijing Friendship Hotel.
The conference is hosted by China-EU school of law of CUPL and distinguished guests include professor Huang Jing, the president of CUPL, Zhang Fusen, Chinese Co-Chair of the Joint Managerial Committee of the China-EU School of Law at CUPL, Former Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing, Hinrich Julius, European Co-Chair of the Joint Managerial Committee of the CUPL, Professor of Law at Universität Hamburg, Armin Hatje, Professor of EU law, Universität Hamburg, Former European Co-dean of CESL, Jesse Kreier, Acting Director, WTO Rules Division, Geneva, along with alumni with some students. Invited also are dozens of legal experts and professors to discuss challenges faced by international trade law and WTO rules. The participating experts are scholars from China University of Political Science and Law, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China, Foreign Economic and Trade University, Shanghai International Studies University, University of Hamburg, Lund university, the University of Manchester, Hungary Seg University, University of Madrid, Beijing Global-Law law firms and dozens of other colleges and universities and institutions at home and abroad.
At 9am Liu Fei, Professor of Law and Chinese Co-Dean of the China-EU School of Law and CUPL opened the ceremony. Huang Jing, president of CUPL, Zhang Fusen, Chinese Co-Chair of the Joint Managerial Committee of the China-EU School of Law at CUPL, the former Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, and Hinrich Julius, European Co-Chair of the Joint Managerial Committee of CUPL and Professor of Law at Universität Hamburg all gave speeches which reviewed the establishment, history and development processes of CESL; ten years ago the premier Li Keqiang and the chairman of the EU began the cooperation of CESL and CUPL. Ten years later, CESL have made a huge contribution to education, research and social service especially in pushing for foreign exchanges and the cultivation of legal talents. This whole process is an extraordinary experience. The speeches give a positive tone to the conference about how the WTO is at a crossroads regarding how to face challenges and push for reform.
Then Mr. Jesse Kreier the Acting Director of the WTO Rules Division, delivered a keynote speech called “WTO Law in a Changing World.” Based on years of working in an international trade system, Mr. Kreier compared differences from when the WTO was first established to its current situation. He pointed out that as reform is rapid, it is important that every nation closely observe the contemporary trend of international law which has effects on the WTO DSB. We need to solve problems concerning the enactment of rules based on negotiations. Now is a crucial time as the DSB is facing serious challenges that requires a more meaningful dialogue.
The conference “THE WTO AT A CROSS-ROAD: RESHAPING ITS NORMATIVE FRAMEWORK” is composed of three sessions i.e. “The Challenges of International Trade Law”, “Developments in trade remedies: Legislation & Jurisprudence”, “Trade Dispute Settlement in the WTO” where scholars and experts lead in-depth discussion.
The first session, “The Challenges of International Trade Law”, was hosted by Prof. Wang Chenguang from Tsinghua University.
The first speaker is Mr. Yenkong Hodu who is a professor of International Economic Law from the University of Manchester. He gave a speech called “Challenges to the Rule of Law in the WTO” which have unfolded from the problematic question of “whether the WTO and GATT is ruled by law”. Prof. Hodu spoke about the development of the WTO in multiple negotiations. He also expressed his view that WTO rules based on multilateralism are good for keeping the world in order. The WTO has come a long way, and not without its flaws, however its rules need prudent reform rather than derogating its effectiveness.
Professor Yang Guohua from Tsinghua University did a report entitled “WTO reform and China proposal”, which summarised three features of the current situation of the WTO i.e. multilateral negotiation at a standstill, the DSB on the edge and severe world trade war. Then he analysed multilateralism from a WTO perspective, pragmatism from the US perspective and the doctrine from China’s perspective and he stressed that China’s proposal needs reform. He also discussed the possibility of the US taking the WTO 163 country programme.
Professor Han Liyu, from Renmin University, made a speech entitled “Challenges of International Trade Law”. He firstly denied the stance adopted by the US that the crisis of the DSB lies in the absence of measures to solve China’s problem. He based this on the example that rivalry among states regarding election of a secretary-general explained the inevitability of a multilateral system crisis and further pointed out that US launching the 301 measure against China is in breach of WTO rules. Finally, he stressed that all reform should be based on the foundation of current existing rules.
Later Dr. Xue Tong who is a lecturer at the China University of Political Science and Law analysed the “Regulation of Cross-border Data Flow [from] a Chinese Perspective”. Dr. Tong first defined the data and introduced data localisation. The draft of cross-border data flow in China should adopt the guiding principles of economic cooperation, organisation and intensify judicial assistance. How to protect personal data in China needs further discussion.
The fifth speaker isAssociate Professor Zhang Qi from Shanghai International Studies University. The topic was “The International Rule of Law in the WTO - a Chinese perspective”. Prof. Zhang pointed out that there are challenges within the internal rule of law of the WTO but this also means opportunities exists. She emphasised that after becoming a member of WTO and based on international rule of law, China has taken many of measures to develop rule of law in China in line with the DSB and also defend Chinese economic interests.
The sixth speaker was Professor Armin Hatje from Universität Hamburg, specialising in EU Law, with the topic of “The European Union as an International Actor:Diversityas a Challenge”. Professor Hatje explained the story behind how he came to join CESL and his positive attitude towards the success of CESL in the past decade and expressed his hope for continued future development. As for the role of EU, he explained the legal nature of the EU and its common business policies. The EU remains fragmented and he described the blue print of re-building the EU as a single entity.
In a friendly and warm atmosphere, professors and attendants exchanged ideas in the question and answer session centered on the future of the EU, China’s attitude towards the WTO and other topics. .
At 13:00 the second session, “Developments in Trade Remedies: Legislation & Jurisprudence” was hosted by Dr. Clemens Richter, Deputy Director of Sino-German Institute of Law at the China University of Political Science and Law.
Professor Wang Chuanli from the School of International Law of China University of Political Science and Law did a report on “Sino-US Trade Disputes and WTO Reform” which mainly involves China-US trade war and difficulties of WTO reform. Prof. Wang shared her views centered on fair trade, the WTO appellate body and other aspects. She addressed several topics including that there is no winner in a trade war, that negotiation is necessary for a settlement in a trade war and reform of the WTO.
Professor Kong Qingjiang, Dean of the School of International Law of CESL made a speech called “WTO reform: A US Withdrawal, a China Expulsion, or an Alternative?” Prof. Kong spoke about WTO reform and that the step made by the US may cause the collapse of the WTO whether the WTO would survive. Choosing between a US withdrawal or a China expulsion does not benefit either party so we should find a way to compromise.
Professor Csongor István Nagy from University of Szeged made a keynote report on “New-wave Protectionism and Locking Yourself in a Dark Room: ‘Can you really have your cake and eat it too?’” Prof. Nagy has an optimistic attitude and interpreted the meaning of free trade from an economic perspective. He thought that FAT has been implemented in multiple aspects as upholding protectionism and is self-destructive. In general, the results of free trade remain positive such that we cannnot give up on the whole process for fear of difficulties.
Professor Chen Weidong from the Law School of University of International Business and Economics did a report on “The WTO Reform in the Context of Trade War”. In terms of free trade, Professor Chen deemed the most important part of the WTO to be free trade that all nations could benefit from it. As for the direction of reform, he suggested that with the concepts of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, the reform should proceed gradually within the context of the trade war. Concerning the measures of reform, multilateral negotiation functions need to recover and the WTO system needs to strengthen.
During the question and answers, experts and scholars discussed problems with respect to dilemmas of the DSB, the balancing of powers among states and other hot topics.
The third session was “Trade Dispute Settlement in theWTO,” hosted by Professor Longchamps De Berier, Franciszek from Jagiellonian University.
Mr. Piotr Szwedo, Professor of Public International Law, Jagiellonian University gave a speech called “Two snapshots of Chinese Economic Transition: TRIPS and Rare Earths Cases Before WTO”. By giving two examples of TRIPS and rare earths cases which represented two snapshots of Chinese economic transition, Prof. Piotr Szwedo reached a conclusion that China had surpassed the threshold of intellectual property and also thought that the benefits of intellectual property outweigh those of breaches in intellectual property law.
Dr Guan Jian who is Senior Partner of the Globe-Law law firm in Beijing spoke about “How to Determine a Safeguard Measure?” Dr. Jian introduced this topic by recapping the US “232 measure” along with a further explanation of measures taken by the US and countermeasures taken by every nation. He pointed out that the adoption of the “232 measure” is possibly for mitigating severe damages caused by an increase of imports.
Associate European Professor Monika Prusinowska from the China-EU School of Law at the China University of Political Science and Law, focused on “WTO and Arbitration”. Professor Prusinowska gave a detailed introduction to dispute settlement measures and also gave a further explanation about arbitration as a resolution within the WTO system. As for arbitration, she talked about the nature of arbitration in the WTO system, the procedure, enforcement and substituted pathways etc. and also made some constructive suggestions.
The last speaker was Professor Li Juqian from the School of International Law of China University of Political Science and Law. Professor Li first congratulated the massive achievements of CESL in the past decade and shared his feelings about being there to see the establishment and development of CESL. His talk was oriented around “The Resolution for Strengthening the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism in the Rules Dilemma” and spoke about controversial phenomena, the rule dilemma and the breakthrough path and how looking at these three angles explained the specific way out. There are two solutions from politics and law based on the willingness that every party is committed to solving the problems.
Finally, Professor Bengt Lundel, European Co-dean of the China-EU School of Law at the China University of Political Science and Law and also Associate Professor of the Faculty of Law of Lund University, made the closing remarks. The “10th anniversary photo exhibition and annual international academic conference” of the institute has come to a successful conclusion in 2018 he said.
With ten years of cooperation, the China-EU relationship is united and renewed.On the occasion of the 10th anniversary, we wish the China-EU law school a bright future; strive ahead and forge a brilliant future together!
Writting: Jiang Nan(CESL 2018 double master)