EU's anti-dumping tariffs 'unfair'

Updated: 2011-05-16 09:41

By Bao Chang and Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The European Union's (EU) move to levy tariffs against Chinese-made coated fine paper is against the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Beijing should take the EU to task to safeguard the interest of Chinese enterprises, experts said on Sunday.

The EU announced on Saturday its first-ever anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on Chinese coated fine paper. The paper is used in the production of high-quality brochures and magazines. The bloc said it will charge duties ranging from 4 to 12 percent for five years as an anti-subsidy tariff.

The EU also applied separate five-year anti-dumping levies ranging from 8 to 35.1 percent on imports of coated fine paper from China.

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The moves come after the EU launched investigations in February 2010 into imports of Chinese coated fine paper.

"Without recognizing China's market economy status, the EU has violated WTO rules by imposing both anti-subsidy and anti-dumping trade remedies on the same goods," said Yao Jian, a spokesman from the Ministry of Commerce.

Yao said both the Chinese government and the nation's enterprises had provided evidence to show that the coated fine paper industry in China is a competitive one in which market economy principles apply and where the government never intervenes in company operations or pricing.

Zhou Shijian, a senior trade expert from Tsinghua University in Beijing, said the EU ruling contravenes many WTO rules, so China should take issue with the EU at the WTO.

And there are precedents for such unfair tariffs being overturned. According to the ministry, the EU ended an investigation into Chinese wireless wide area networking (WWAN) modems in March, which is worth $4.1 billion in exports. The end of that probe sent a positive signal that will boost the stable development of China-EU trade relations, the ministry said.

And, one year after China lodged a complaint against the EU at the WTO, the EU terminated its collection of anti-dumping duties on leather shoes imported from China on April 1. The duties had been in place for four years. The move offers an opportunity for Chinese shoe manufacturers to expand into European markets.

"China will probably win if it files a complaint with the WTO against the EU's unfair decision to charge tariffs on Chinese-made coated fine paper," Sun Zhenyu, the former Chinese ambassador to the WTO, told China Daily.

Yao of the Ministry of Commerce said China opposes any kind of trade protectionism. Instead, Beijing would like to see China and the EU deal with trade frictions through deep cooperation and negotiations.

According to the General Administration of Customs, China-EU trade has thrived in recent years. The EU remains China's largest trading partner, while China is the EU's second largest. Last year, the volume of bilateral trade was close to $480 billion, a 31.8 percent increase year-on-year.

China has also been a major target of the EU's anti-dumping investigation into Chinese exports. During the past 30 years, the EU has filed 140 cases against China, becoming the WTO member with the most trade disputes with China.


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