Abstract

For decades, China has maintained State import monopoly in cultural products. The opaque State trading operations ensure a maximum level of flexibility and efficacy in the government censorship of imports. The WTO judiciary held in the China–Publications case that this practice is inconsistent with China's trading rights commitments under its Accession Protocol and cannot be justified by the public morals exception of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. To comply with the WTO ruling, China must restructure its censorship regime, which it apparently is not prepared to do. This article analyses the implications of the WTO decision and provides a critical assessment of the new WTO jurisprudence regarding trading rights and the China Accession Protocol.

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