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Sturm College of Law


China, Foreign policy, Internal state security, Communist party rule, State sovereignty, Territorial integrity, Economic development, Social stability, International economic law, East Asian trade, U.S. solar industry, Chinese solar industry, European Union, Solar disputes


This article takes an interdisciplinary approach by drawing on political science, international relations, and legal global governance literatures to explain how China’s foreign policy impacts and guides its trade policy, which is manifested in the three core interests. The article makes the case that the core interest analysis holds promising explicative, predictive, persuasive, and coalition-building value in the arenas of global trade policy and dispute settlement.

This article proceeds in five main parts. Part II traces the contours of China’s three core interests in action, both in the domestic and international spheres. While not purporting to be exhaustive, it takes some of the most significant events in China’s recent history and examines them through the core interest lens. This section provides a deeper understanding of China’s motives by embedding them in the context of geopolitical goals and policies. Part III focuses the lens more narrowly on the arena of international trade law. It examines the ongoing U.S.-China and E.U.-China trade disputes on solar subsidies in terms of a core interest analysis. This section provides a useful roadmap for understanding future cases. It demonstrates that China engages in a deliberate and intentional weighing of how WTO litigation and other activities advance or impede its strategic interests. Part IV examines the policy and normative implications of these finding with an interdisciplinary analysis drawing on political science, international relations, and legal global governance literatures. Part V lays out the four significant implications to be drawn from this article’s arguments, briefly described in the paragraph above. Part VI concludes.

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Copyright held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Phoenix X.F. Cai, Akron Law Review

File Format



English (eng)


40 pgs

File Size

712 KB

Publication Title

Akron Law Review





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