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Prior to joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), the common perception in China was that the WTO belonged to ‘the Club of the Rich’, where wealthy countries imposed rules on poor and weak developing ones.

Now, the WTO is one of the most widely recognised and respected international organisations within China.

Since China’s accession in 2001, the belief that the WTO is a ‘public good’ has taken hold in China, and membership in the WTO is a driving force for market reforms. WTO entry transformed how the global multilateral trading system is viewed, not only by skeptics in the government but, more importantly, in...

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