Orgnization & Struture >> School of WTO Research & Education
Combining the functions of research, education, and training into one single body, School of WTO Research and Education, the first of its kind in China, is designed to train senior specialized personnel conversant with WTO rules, proficient in international commerce and law, and geared to international business operations.
Consolidating its unique resources in education and research on the basis of the Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center, the WTO Shanghai Research Center, and the SIFT Society of WTO Research and Development, School of WTO Research and Education provides M.A. programs, graduate programs with equivalent academic degrees, senior public administration training programs, as well as WTO research and decision-making consultation services, and sponsors domestic and international academic exchanges.
Background of its Establishment
China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), a major event of historical significance in China's reform and opening up process, initiates a new stage in China's bid to reform and open up. In the new stage, two marked changes will be present in China's economic development. First, the government is to switch its pattern of economic management from planning and controlling of the market to adapting and conforming to the market, from interfering and participating in the market to normalizing and serving the market. Second, the government is to shift its focus on the reform and open policy from pushing-forward opening by reforms to the speeding-up reforms by opening, from power-based and government-led opening to rule-based and market-driven opening. Therefore, under the new situations of reform and open-up, the understanding of and research on WTO should break away from those empty arguments of and metaphysical approaches to opportunities and challenges, pros and cons in the wake of China's entry into WTO, and should reflect our progress with the times in the new way of thinking. The opportunity of learning the rules of WTO should be seized to spread, publicize, and popularize the fundamental knowledge concerning the universal law of market economy. This is a long-range protracted task, which can be accomplished neither at one stroke nor in a rush. While further deepening her reforms and expanding her opening at this new starting point, China should take a more aggressive stand in entering the world arena to conform to the tide of economic globalization, and continue to promote the opening to the outside world in all industrial sectors, at varied levels and on broader scales to inject a new driving force into China's modernization and sustainable development. It could well be said that WTO is not a vogue, but rather an impetus to push forward market reforms and opening and to construct a perfect, mature and developed socialist market economy.
The Chinese leaders attach great importance to and show much concern for the present education and cultivation of specialized personnel of WTO affairs. On the occasion of the commencement of the seminar on International Situations and WTO on February 25, President Jiang Zeming pointed out, ?°We should redouble our efforts in training and attracting specialized personnel to bring up a contingent of people conversant with WTO rules. Qualified personnel is the key to all our counterpart work with WTO following China's accession. In a sense, the biggest challenge lies in the conspicuous lack of specialized personnel. The training of professional personnel, particularly those people well versed with WTO rules such as management specialists, international business experts, expert negotiators, and anti-dumping investigators, who are in short supply and in dire need, should be speeded up. The cultivation of personnel attending to WTO affairs should be urgently dealt with. Special measures should be taken to reinforce our work in training and attracting such people. The State Council should strengthen its work in creating a WTO-related mechanism well staffed with an expert contingent. In the short run, we should lose no time in training qualified personnel conversant with WTO rules for different regions, government agencies and enterprises; in the mean time, we should take a long view of the matter and constantly raise the professional level of the specialized personnel.
After China acceded to the WTO, the planning for the future development of business-oriented institutions of higher education in China should also be readjusted and updated. Research on post-WTO China will provide these business colleges and universities with an important niche to increase their school notability and academic influence, thus offering them a good opportunity to strenghen research at a higher level. At present, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation has set up the WTO Department, the Bureau of Fair Trade in Import and Export, and the Bureau of WTO Circulars and Consultation; the State Economic Commission has set up the Bureau of Industrial Damage Investigation. As far as educational institutions are concerned, the University of International Business and Economics has established the WTO Research Center; Fudan University and Hong Kong University has jointly launched the Research Center on WTO and Chinese Economic Development; the Taiwan University of Politics has set up the Research Center on WTO and International Economic Organizational Laws.
Acting more and more like an?°International Economic Union, WTO has, since it replaced GATT structurally and organizationally in 1995, played an increasingly important coordinating, normalizing, and driving role in the process of the globalization of world economy, the synchronization of decision-making, and regional integration. A large number of developed countries as well as developing countries have, either long ago or just recently, set up ministerial or ambassadorial agencies directly responsible for WTO affairs, for example, the U.S. Trade Representative Office (USTR) set up in 1974, the Multilateral Trade Negotiation Department in Australia's Ministry of Trade and Commerce, and the recently-established Ministry of WTO Affairs in Indonesia. At the same time, some prestigious universities and first-rate research institutions in foreign countries are actively preparing to launch relevant academic associations or research institutes designed to deal with WTO affairs.
The WTO Shanghai Research Center initiated by SIFT, the first organization in China devoted to research on GATT-WTO, has already led the country and the world in research on WTO affairs, and gained a high reputation, its research results having been officially acknowledged and taken seriously by the leaders of relevant state departments and agencies. The SIFT Society of WTO Research and Development (SWORD) set up in 2001 to consolidate the research strength of the WTO Shanghai Research Center is an academic organization dedicated to the research and development of China's countermeasures in response to her membership in WTO. After nearly one year's efforts, SWORD has strengthened its domestic and international links and exchanges, and produced some preliminary research results. The first series of research projects have been completed and reviewed by experts ; the second series of research projects are now under way. All things considered, SIFT is endowed with the following unique advantages in establishing School of WTO Research and Development:
.The Secretariat of the WTO Shanghai Research Center was set up in SIFT, and the chief leaders and most leading researchers in the Center are from SIFT, who enjoy a high prestige both at home and abroad;
.SIFT has a special forum in the school for WTO research ¨C SWORD;
.SIFT has a large contingent of veteran researchers on WTO matters, who boast a high command of foreign languages and have many scholarly ideas or translated books to their credit;
.SIFT publishes the only academic periodical in China devoted to the research of WTO matters ¨C Journal of WTO Affairs and Research .
In addition, the establishment of School of WTO Research and Education could further consolidate the strength in teaching contingent of the university for WTO research, enhance the prestige of the university both domestically and internationally, attest to the correct decision-making of the university in sizing up the current situations and make preliminary preparations for the bid of university to operate M.A. and Ph.D. programs in WTO research.