Fragmented Liberalization:

Sub-National Government Autonomy and the Auto Industry in Post-WTO Era China

Seung-Youn Oh, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Center for the Study of Contemporary China

| Fisher-Bennett Suite 345, CSCC conference room

How effective are international agreements and multinational corporations in promoting liberalization in emerging economies such as China? Focusing on China’s burgeoning automotive industry, Seung-Youn explores how China resolves the conflict between its long legacy of heavy state intervention and its obligations to the WTO. She reveals how China’s WTO accession actually constrained the central government and thus provided local governments with increased leeway to pursue local industrial policy. China’s WTO entry has resulted in “fragmented liberalization,” whereby sub-national governments selectively adopt measures of both liberalization and protectionism. Multinational corporations have at times even encouraged such local protectionism. This talk contends that sub-national level compliance explains the course of liberalization better than national level compliance in a decentralized and fragmented country like China.

* Light lunch provided.