Experts warn against trade protectionism

Updated 2018-02-23 10:55:03 China Daily

The number of trade investigations involving Chinese exports launched by the United States has reached four so far this year, as Washington hasn't prudently handled the investigations and overprotected many domestic industries, said experts on Thursday.

Their comments came after the U.S. International Trade Commission launched anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation on rubber bands from China, Sri Lanka and Thailand on Wednesday, claiming those products to be shipped to the U.S. are at less than fair value and subsidized by the governments of the three nations.

Unless the U.S. Department of Commerce extends the time for initiation, the USITC must reach preliminary determinations on anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations in 45 days, or in this case by March 16. Its views must be transmitted to the USDC within five business days thereafter, or by March 23.

The U.S. government has so far launched trade remedy measures on Chinese products including steel, aluminum and solar panels this year, causing concerns that the country has excessively used trade protection tools and broken multilateral rules to generate negative impacts to global economic and trade order.

"China believes that trade problems and conflicts should be dealt with in a positive and mutually beneficial manner," said Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

He said the recovery path of the global economy has proved to be more complex than anticipated. The uncertainties surrounding economic recovery in the U.S. and other major economies, together with concerns over job prospects, suggest high risks of trade remedy measures against Chinese exports to protect local business.

China remained the largest target of trade remedy measures in 2017, even though the number of cases and value involved declined because of a higher comparative base in 2016, the improving global economy and the fight against protectionism, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce.

There were 75 trade cases targeting Chinese goods worth a total of billion last year, dropping 37 percent and 23 percent year-on-year respectively.

"Trade frictions targeting China have been, and will be, a situation that China has to face and deal with this year. And we have all noticed that global trade protectionism against China, especially from the U.S. and India, sometimes the European Union, is getting worse: the value of the cases is increasing, and more cases are targeting China's high-end industries and high-tech sector," said Wang Zhile, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.

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