China pushes back on EU proposal to address 'dumping'

China recently accelerated a last-ditch effort to correct a new European Union proposal for calculating dumping margins, since its use of the “surrogate country” approach in investigations against China ends next month.

During his Nov 8-14 visit, Vice-Premier Ma Kai won support from the UK and France, and high officials promised they would influence EU to fully comply with the obligations agreed to 15 years ago with regard to China’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

Ma’s UK and France tour followed a trip to Belgium and the EU in October, and top officials also vowed that the EU can be trusted to fulfill its commitment.

Vice-Premier Liu Yandong is scheduled for a Nov 23-26 visit to Germany, where she hopes to win that country’s support in persuading the EU to abide by the WTO protocol “timely and completely”.

The European Commission submitted the 10-page amendment proposal on protection against dumped imports to the European Council and European Parliament just one month ahead of the dumping calculations in the Accession Protocols of China, which expire on Dec 11.

China was not satisfied with EU’s solution.

“We have taken note of this, and have concerns,” said Lu Kang, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He said China acknowledges the EU Commission’s proposal to remove the list of non-market economy countries, which reflects the EU’s willingness to fulfill Article 15.

China pushes back on EU proposal to address 'dumping'

“Much to our regret, however, the new methodology proposed by the EU, which replaces the concept of ‘non-market economy’ with ‘market distortions’, fails to uproot the practice of ‘surrogate country’. It only gives it a new cover. That is neither a thorough implementation of Article 15 nor compliance with WTO rules.”

Lu expressed hope that the EU will honor its commitment and fulfill its obligations comprehensively and thoroughly as scheduled, safeguard the order of international trade and protect overall China-EU economic and trade relations.

When Ma and French Finance Minister Michel Sapin met on Nov 14, Ma said, he hoped that France would continue to have an important influence in the EU in terms of urging it to fulfill its obligations under Article 15 of the Protocol on China’s Accession to the WTO in a timely, full and clear manner.

According to Xinhua, Sapin responded that the French side supports the EU in respecting its international obligations, including those under Article 15 of the WTO protocol.

During his meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Ma said China hopes Britain will take a fair position on the issue and will push for fulfilling the EU’s obligations neatly and cleanly, though Britain is going to leave the bloc. May responded that she supports free trade.

Last month, Kris Peeters, Belgium’s deputy prime minister revealed the stances of his country in a news release:

“Belgium’s stance is that it must abide by provisions and agreements.”

Even during his meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in October, Juncker, for his part, expressed the EU’s willingness to fulfill its WTO obligations.

In its proposal, however, the EU introduced a concept of “market distortions”, which involve several criteria to be considered, such as state policies and influence, the widespread presence of government-owned enterprises, discrimination in favor of domestic companies and the independence of the financial sector.

Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Reform and Development, said Brussels should not link its fulfillment of WTO obligations with overcapacity reduction, which is a global problem.

China has been actively offering solutions and “there is no precondition for Brussels in delivering its WTO promises,” Chi said.

(China Daily European Weekly 11/18/2016 page30)

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