.. possible drawbacks that Chinas new membership to the WTO could hold within it. Initially jobs could become scarcer as ailing state firms and inefficient family farms give in to the new foreign competition. Chinas state-run media has been selling the WTO deal to the public all along, but does officially admit that millions of people could be thrown out of work, including more than nine million people associated with agriculture. And even though China has negotiated for WTO entry for 13 years, its social security system remains very unsophisticated. With these factors combined, surely there will be a rise in the already common workers protests that have prompted a police crack down on such incidents.
A major point the author displays in the article is the issue regarding the exploitation of workers in China. Long-term labor activists fear that because the communist government bans independent trade unions, jobs generated by increased foreign investment could lead to this greater exploitation of the workers. Already tough and unsafe factories prevail in provinces all over China. In the province of Guangdong which is the southern economic powerhouse that handles forty percent of Chinas foreign trade, the rights of the worker has extra significance because the province stands to benefit quite nicely through the WTO entry. Han Dongfang a veteran Chinese labor campaigner who lives in forced exile in Hong Kong because China wont let him return to the mainland sums up the issue on worker exploitation, “You can say they provide job opportunities. But the people who work there are not people, theyre labor.
They have no rights to speak out about their conditions, wages, or benefits.” Its clear that the author wants to emphasize that working conditions in China will not get better, but possibly even get worse. He clarifies that without the right for workers to set up unions, job opportunities brought by the WTO could turn workers into slaves. Under those conditions, there is no way that anyone can claim that the WTO will in any way benefit human rights in China. In terms of a business standpoint, this article shows how the deal between the United States and China could end up producing more bad press for human rights in China. According to this article, the cons certainly outweigh the pros regarding Chinas new membership into the WTO. American companies thinking about trading with China should definitely give notice to the production facility as well as the establishment of employees in order to make sure they are not being exploited.
The exploitation of workers does not sit well with anyone in the United States, and any correlation between your company and a company that offers no rights to its workers could mean withdrawal of investors, workers, and most importantly consumers. Article #3 This article focuses on Chinas current president, Jiang Zemin, and the role he played in Chinas recent agreement with the United States to join the World Trade Organization. The agreement made with the U.S. will open China to free international trade for the first time in history. Along the way, the 73 year-old Jiang had to practically “move mountains” of conservative opposition in China where he is trying to change the relationship between Beijing and Washington DC. The deal was unprecedented for China, but had equal importance to Jiang himself. Jiang dealt with the United States in a profound way, waiting for United States President Bill Clinton to call him twice before backing the deal himself.
When American negotiators arrived in Beijing, Jiang kept his distance from the discussions, instead he sent Premier Zhu Rongji to work out the details. Once the deal was signed however, Jiang kept with his emperor mentality and assumed direct contact with the negotiators. An advocate of technology, Jiang seems to be the right man for China going into the 21st century. Yet he doesnt quite have the imperial status in the eyes of the Chinese. In Beijing, the WTO celebration was poorly choreographed and lacked a certain greatness to it, and Jiangs speech didnt hold the peoples attention for long at all. Despite these flaws, Jiang clearly strives to be as imperial as he can possibly be, perhaps join the ranks of suck emperors as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. But in Chinas long history, an Emperor needs to inspire awe, with a little bit of fear mixed into his subjects.
Jiang isnt quite there but tackling such a large subject as world trade is a good place to start. Jiang is not one to start breaking up the entire system however which he leaves to Premier Zhu. It was Zhu who traveled to the United States in April in an attempt to strike up talks concerning WTO. He failed only because the White House at the time thought it would be”politically unwise” to sign such an agreement at that point in time. Jiang simply sat back, gained concessus back in China, and then awaited for President Clinton to approach him.
It was through this consensus that Jiang had established that the negotiations were a success. The authors main points concern Jiang and his dilemma. The dilemma that he is a prisoner of the Chinese Communist Party that he is leading fifty years after its revolution. The communist party is one that is empty of vision, worried about unrest, out of touch with the younger generation that concerns itself more with money than ideology. It seems that the harder Jiang tries to impress the citizens of China, the less interested they become. He certainly acknowledges the fact that economic development is need in China, but being open politically is just simply not an option he has.
Even immediately after the WTO deal was signed, members of Falun Gong, a banned meditation cult were being arrested. It is clear that Jiang wants to help China prosper, it might just take a little longer than he had hoped. The World Trade Organization or WTO has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It currently has 135 countries with membership. The WTO is the successor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade formed in 1947.
Once limited to goods, the WTOs aim has been extended to include intellectual property and trade in services. The organizations task is to administer and enforce the trade agreements made by member nations, ensuring the flow of goods and services. Its rulings are law among all of its members. In terms of a business/market situation, here is a breakdown on who got the better deal between China and the United States. In Telecommunications, China will let telecom firms, including U.S.
giants such as AT&T, have new, though still limited access to its domestic market. The winner in this case are the U.S. telecom firms by a long shot. They will be able to sell their voice and data services to the Chinese which is a huge market. In farming, China said it would cut tariffs on farming goods to less than 15% by the year 2005.
That should give many Chinese access to new foods from all over the world. Farmers in the U.S. will be the winners in this respect because they can expect to sell much more to China. In the steel industry, China agrees its state-owned and subsidized steel industry will not dump tons of cheap products onto crucial U.S. markets. There really in no clear winner in this agreement, China will sell more cheap steel overseas while U.S.
firms will still have to compete world wide. Finally, in the textile industry the Chinese textile plants will be able to sell their products anywhere around the world. China is clearly the winner here, in this respect the WTO is like a dream come true. For the U.S. plants, the cheap Chinese exports will be a nightmare. Conclusion The World Trade Organization is going to produce many opportunities for the entire nation of China. For the first time in its history, China will be able to share its resources and receive resources from all around the world. The only mistake we can make regarding this situation is to push our (the U.S.) democratic views upon them while we trade with them.
The politics in China will not change overnight and they probably will not change in the next ten years. It is extremely important that we respect that China will do what is best for itself throughout the course of trading, which I believe it will do. Another major concern involving China and the WTO is the issue of workers rights. Attention has to be kept in regards to this touchy subject, but again, the world must realize that it cant impose moral laws as well as trade laws in a different country. I hope that China does focus on the bettering of working conditions and I also hope that the majority of jobs, especially agricultural, can be saved in some fashion. I believe that China will succeed in this new trade agreement, and hopefully the rest of the world can benefit as well.
It might be rough going at first, but only because it will be new to such a historic and old nation as China. I realize that old habits are particularly hard to break, but I am confident that under President Jiang Zemin, that China will prosper economically and socially under this new agreement. Bibliography Shapinsky, David. Unchanging China. ABCNews.com. November 20, 1999. Leicester, John.
WTO Entry Mixed Blessing for China. Associated Press. November 21, 1999. McCarthy, Terry. The Imperial Dragon. Time Magazine.
November 29, 1999.