Beijing to take 'measures' if rights are denied
China will take “necessary measures” to defend its legal rights if World Trade Organization members continue to use a non-market economy clause to assess dumping tariffs against it, a Ministry of Commerce spokesman said on Friday.
As a condition for being admitted to the WTO, China agreed in 2001 that other members could treat it as a “non-market economy” for 15 years, ending on Dec 11, Sunday.
Under this status, trading partners may use a surrogate country whose economic situation is similar to China’s as a reference when determining whether China is dumping in their countries.
Shen Danyang, the Ministry of Commerce spokesman, said at a news conference on Friday that China opposes continued use of the system in anti-dumping investigations against China. “Some of the WTO members have not expressed explicitly that they will observe the 15th clause in an attempt to keep using the surrogate country system. We expect them to abide by the rules,” Shen said. The 15th clause outlines when the surrogate system is inappropriate.
Analysts said China could takes measures ranging from filing petitions to retaliating in the dispute, according to analysts. Chen Xin, director of the business department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of European Studies, said China may appeal to the WTO.
“If the WTO rules that these countries have breached the terms of the agreement, they will have to pay for the losses Chinese companies have suffered in the anti-dumping cases. Meanwhile, China may retaliate by imposing higher taxes on imports from these countries,” Chen said.
Chen said the anti-dumping cases against China in the European Union account for 2 percent of the total trading volume between the two sides. It does more harm than good if other trading sectors are hurt because of the anti-dumping cases.
Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Commerce Ministry’s Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that even if some countries label China as a non-market economy, it won’t affect China’s status as a leading country in trading.
“China has grown into a major exporter to many countries even though it has been treated as a non-market economy for years. Anti-dumping cases won’t have much impact on China’s overall trading volume. On the other hand, protectionism will only make the local businesses even weaker in competition,” he said.
In response to the Japanese position on the issue, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Japan needs to observe its obligation and stop using the surrogate country system in anti-dumping investigations against China as of Monday.
“China has become the largest trading partner of a lot of countries,” said Lu Kang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman. “China’s market economy status is non-deniable whether Japan recognizes it or not.”