Professor from Practice Jennifer Hillman Testifies on Addressing Chinese Market Distortions

June 8, 2018

Professor from Practice Jennifer Hillman testifies before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on June 8 regarding possible tools to address Chinese market distortions.

When the 12-member U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission decided to conduct public hearings to explore U.S. tools to address Chinese market distortions, it included Georgetown Law Professor from Practice Jennifer Hillman on the list of experts.

Hillman, who teaches courses on international business transactions and trade as well as an international economic law practicum, once served as one of seven members from around the world on the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body — among other impressive credentials.

So in her June 8 testimony in Room 562 of the Dirksen Senate Office building, Hillman looked to the Geneva-based WTO as the best possible means of addressing unfair Chinese trade policies and practices: calling for a “big, bold, comprehensive case at the WTO filed by a broad coalition of countries that share the United States’ substantive concerns about China,” as she put it in her written testimony.

As the experts noted — in a panel called “A Coordinated Policy Response to Chinese State Capitalism” — China has consistently failed to live up to its commitments as a member of the WTO, undermining free trade through means of market access barriers, licensing restrictions that favor Chinese recipients, government subsidies, intellectual property theft and more.

Bringing a case at the WTO, Hillman asserted, “represents the best opportunity to bring together enough of the trading interests in the world to put sufficient pressure on China to make it clear that fundamental reform is required.”

“The U.S. needs to use the power of collective action to impress upon both China and the WTO how significant the concerns really are,” she said — adding in her written testimony that “the United States simply cannot bring about the kind of change that is needed using a go-it-alone strategy.” A comprehensive WTO case, Hillman noted, would restore confidence in the WTO. And working with a coalition would make it less likely that the U.S. would accept a limited agreement connected to the U.S.-China bilateral trade deficit.”

Sankari Venkat Krishnan (LL.M.’18), who helped Professor Hillman prepare for the hearing with research and drafting, attended the morning hearing. Venkat Krishnan also took Hillman’s International Economic Law practicum in Spring 2018 — working with Oxfam America on the issue of access to medicines and the North American Free Trade Agreement. “She is amazing,” she said of her professor. “One of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.”