Professor Rossi investigates how Non-Trade Concerns (NTCs) affect and shape consumer protection in China.

In this article, Professor Rossi investigates how Non-Trade Concerns affect and shape consumer protection in China. Firstly, he draws the bigger picture, by analyzing how consumerism and international trade relate to each other. Then he goes on examining consumer law in China in its technical dimension and eventually he explores the broader interplays between law and economy in this field. The wider context of the issues at stake is the interplay between international trade and consumerism. The first one is defined as the internationalization and liberalization of national economies, that has fostered the global spread of mass transactions. Through the activity of the main international trade players, such as multinational corporations, new types of contracts are spreading, and national States try to restore the balance of contractual relationships in order to protect their interests. The second one is understood as a social movement, whose mission is to “seek to augment the rights and power of the buyers in relation to the sellers.” As it is pointed out, the introduction of the legal rules and norms that protect consumer interests are deeply linked to the country’s transition towards a socialist market economy. Indeed, the People’s Republic of China used legal reforms to progressively transform the economy in order to attract foreign investment and foster economic growth – emblematically after the PRC’s accession to the World Trade Organization, in 2001. As a result, China created a wide range of remedies. Rather than examining individual disciplines, the Author correctly looks at the national economic regulation as a whole, since it is there that legal policies that might sacrifice consumer protection in favor of other interests originate. For instance, as it is stressed, consumer law could be one of those fields where political rhetoric can justify certain choices by stressing the fact that those choices do not reflect the government’s will but rather the necessity to satisfy unique, widespread cultural needs. On another note, Chinese legislation is rather fragmented. However, we should not exclude the possibility of future harmonization, particularly in the Asian area of Chinese influence, of the modalities for the identification and prosecution of those actors engaging in practices harmful to consumers (at the moment, the problem mainly relates to Hong Kong, where many registered companies operate in a way that harms consumers living in mainland China, exploiting the lack of effective communication between the agencies responsible for consumer protection in China and Hong Kong).