Under Section 15 of the Chinese WTO Accession Protocol, China can be treated as a non-market economy (NME) in anti-dumping proceedings if Chinese firms cannot prove that they operate under market economy conditions. The main implication of NME status in anti-dumping proceedings is the possibility to use other methodologies to determine the normal value of the good, instead of using domestic prices to compute the dumping margin. In general, NME methodologies to calculate normal value have proven to lead to higher anti-dumping duties. In view of these higher duties, and the fact that China faces the highest number of anti-dumping investigations, obtaining earlier recognition of Market Economy Status (MES) has been one of the country's major foreign policy objectives since 2003. Moreover, China has argued that, according to Section 15(d) of the WTO Accession Protocol, the Section 15 provision allowing for
NME methodology expires after 11 December 2016, resulting in a legal obligation to grant MES to China after that date. This interpretation of the section remains highly controversial.