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China to EU: Uphold promise on market economy status
May 17, 2016, 5:10 am

In 2015, Chinese businesses invested $23 billion in the European continent according to a joint report by Baker & McKenzie and Rhodium Group [Xinhua]

In 2015, Chinese businesses invested $23 billion in the European continent according to a joint report by Baker & McKenzie and Rhodium Group [Xinhua]

China on Monday slammed a recent European Parliament resolution refusing to grant China market economy status, saying the move was not constructive.

“As the world’s second largest economy and biggest trade partner for more than 130 countries, China has become a bedrock for protecting global free trade. These facts which are seen by all, we don’t want some to still look at China with prejudices, or people who want to reverse the historical trend,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Beijing.

Members of the European Parliament passed a resolution last week saying China should not be granted market economy status by Brussels. The resolution is not legally binding.

“China has offered a stable and reliable market and abundant jobs for the European Union (EU). China hopes the EU can view China’s development objectively, respect World Trade Organization rules and deliver on its WTO obligations,” China’s Foreign Minister Wang said at a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault on Monday.

Brussels is due to make a ruling this year. EU lawmakers say China’s cheap exports and excess production capacity are hurting EU jobs.

The WTO obligations Wang mentioned include the “surrogate country system,” a term used by the EU in anti-dumping investigations, under which costs of production in a third country are used to calculate the value of products from non-market economies.

“WTO members should end the practice by December 11, 2016 under the agreement signed when China joined the World Trade Organization. It is an obligation for all the WTO members, not subject to any member’s criteria at home,” Wang said.

“China has only one clear and reasonable request to the EU: Please keep your promise,” the Chinese Foreign Minister said at the press conference in Beijing.

“Whether the EU grants market economy status to China or not, it needs to deliver on its WTO obligations rather than dodge them,” Wang said.

A Guardian report quoted the UK government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills saying granting China market economy status still allows the EU to take anti-dumping measures against Beijing if it flouts rules and that the two are not mutually exclusive.

“We should not confuse the market economy status issue with the current situation in the steel industry,” said a spokesman. “Russia has market economy status and the EU has taken anti-dumping measures against Russia.

“If China is granted market economy status, the EU will still be able to take action on unfair trade practices and impose anti-dumping measures. And there would also be no effect on the EU’s ability to tackle Chinese subsidies through anti-subsidy actions.”

The anti-China EU resolution goes against globalization and signals the heavy presence of trade protectionism across the world, China’s former chief negotiator at the WTO Long Yongtu said Sunday.

The rise of populism in European and American countries that are now facing tremendous economic difficulties has taken the form of protectionism in external trade, Zheng noted.

China has replaced these countries as a main driver of globalization, and will remain so in the future, he argued.

In 2015, Chinese businesses invested $23 billion in the European continent according to a joint report by Baker & McKenzie and Rhodium Group.


TBP and Agencies

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