Pro­tec­tion­ism to be se­vere next year, se­nior trade of­fi­cials warn

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHONG NAN zhong­nan@chi­

Trade pro­tec­tion­ism mea­sures tar­get­ing Chi­nese goods will con­tinue to be “se­vere” in 2017 as anti-glob­al­iza­tion forces are likely to keep grow­ing in the United States. Also, many Euro­pean politi­cians may play the “China Card” in their elec­tions, se­nior trade of­fi­cials said on Thurs­day.

Yu Jian­long, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the China Cham­ber of In­ter­na­tional Com­merce, said the sit­u­a­tion re­mains chal­leng­ing and com­pli­cat- ed be­cause both the US and Euro­pean Union are ei­ther hav­ing or will have dra­matic changes in their po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, which will gen­er­ate di­rect im­pacts on their trade re­la­tions with China.

Trade con­flicts have es­ca­lated this year, with trade in­ves­ti­ga­tions now tak­ing place on var­i­ous types of goods, from tele­coms to steel, and this is likely to con­tinue.

The US ini­ti­ated 18 trade-remedy mea­sures against Chi­nese prod­ucts in­clud­ing steel, agri­cul­ture and photo-voltaic prod­ucts in the first half of the year, data from the Min­istry of Com­merce show.

“Even though China has be­come a net cap­i­tal ex­porter this year, Chi­nese com­pa­nies need to make in­vest­ment de­ci­sions calmly next year, es­pe­cially in the US and EU. The de­pre­ci­a­tion of the ren­minbi has also added pres­sure on their op­er­at­ing costs,” said Yu.

He said other fac­tors such as the start of Brexit talks and the elec­tions in Italy, France and Ger­many could also cut China’s ex­port vol­ume. Cer­tain po­lit­i­cal par­ties strongly sup­port the anti-glob­al­iza­tion move­ment.

To pro­tect its in­ter­ests, China bil­lion no­ti­fied the Sec­re­tariat of the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion that it re­quested dis­pute con­sul­ta­tions with the US and the EU re­gard­ing spe­cial cal­cu­la­tion method­olo­gies in an­tidump­ing pro­ceed­ings ear­lier this month. The case now is be­ing re­view by the WTO.

China’s non­mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus is seen as a ma­jor ob­sta­cle for Chi­nese en­ter­prises deal­ing with anti-dump­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions. As a con­di­tion of join­ing the WTO, China agreed in 2001 that other WTO mem­bers could treat it as a “non­mar­ket econ­omy” for 15 years, end­ing on Dec 11, 2016.

Zhang Xiangchen, deputy in­ter­na­tional trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive of China, said China must raise its trade and in­vest­ment ac­tiv­i­ties with emerg­ing economies, es­pe­cially those from the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, to di­ver­sify its ex­port chan­nels un­der cur­rent global busi­ness con­di­tions.

A to­tal of 2.84 mil­lion jobs in over­seas mar­kets have been cre­ated by over 30,000 Chi­nese com­pa­nies so far this year, min­istry data shows.

China’s out­bound di­rect in­vest­ment to coun­tries and re­gions such as Sin­ga­pore, In­dia, Thai­land and Iran along the Belt and Road amounted to $13.35 bil­lion between Jan­uary and Novem­ber this year, ac­count­ing for 8.3 per­cent of the coun­try’s to­tal ODI vol­umes dur­ing the pe­riod.

China’s out­bound di­rect in­vest­ment to coun­tries and re­gions along the Belt and Road between Jan­uary and Novem­ber

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