Busi­ness­men call on EU to treat China as a mar­ket econ­omy

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By JING SHUIYU jing­shuiyu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Chi­nese business com­mu­nity has called on the Euro­pean Union to elim­i­nate trade bar­ri­ers against main­land com­pa­nies — and to fully rec­og­nize its in­ter­na­tional com­mit­ments un­der the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion, a se­nior trade of­fi­cial said.

“In or­der to main­tain the two par­ties’ healthy eco­nomic and trade re­la­tions, we hope that the Euro­pean Union will up­hold WTO prin­ci­ples and rec­og­nize its in­ter­na­tional com­mit­ments,” saidWang Jinzhen, vice-chair­man of the China Coun­cil for the Pro­mo­tion of In­ter­na­tional Trade, at a sem­i­nar.

“The two par­ties can see growth in two-way trade and in­vest­ment, as long as they fur­ther deepen co­op­er­a­tion and up­hold the prin­ci­ple of free trade.”

Ac­cord­ing toWang, Chi­nese business peo­ple re­gret that the Euro­pean Union has not dropped its “sur­ro­gate coun­try” ap­proach — a way that some coun­tries use to cal­cu­late the nor­mal value of ex­port prod­ucts from “non-mar­ket economies” like China. Un­der this pro­ce­dure, EU of­fi­cials ask whether the cost of production in a third coun­try is be­low the price charged by Chi­nese ex­porters and, if so, place tar­iffs on the Chi­nese prod­ucts.

Al­though the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion said in a pro­posal in early Novem­ber that, for the pur­pose of anti-dump­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions, it will no longer au­to­mat­i­cally as­sume that China is a “non-mar­ket econ­omy,” it has, how­ever, in­tro­duced a sim­i­lar con­cept called “mar­ket dis­tor­tion” to de­fine China’s sta­tus.

Chris­tian Ew­ert, direc­tor gen­eral of the EU-based For­eign Trade As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “Trade from China should not be seen as a threat, but as a re­ally unique op­por­tu­nity for Euro­pean economies.”

“The For­eign Trade As­so­ci­a­tion wel­comes the an­nounce­ment of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in early Novem­ber that it is rec­og­niz­ing its in­ter­na­tional com­mit­ments un­der theWTO.”

At the sem­i­nar, China andEUrep­re­sen­ta­tives dis­cussed To­mor­row’s Silk Road: As­sess­ing an EU-China Free Trade Agree­ment, an in­de­pen­dent study aimed at pro­vid­ing an in-depth ex­am­i­na­tion of the sta­tus of bi­lat­eral eco­nomic ex­changes and per­sis­tent trade bar­ri­ers that ex­ist be­tween the two sides.

Yu Huabo, direc­tor of the China Cham­ber of Com­merce for Im­port and Ex­port of Textile and Ap­parel, said such agree­ment would help Chi­nese textile and ap­parel ex­ports and cut the costs of trade.

China’s ex­ports to the Euro­pean Union were 1.82 tril­lion yuan ($260 bil­lion) be­tween Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber 2016, up1 per­cent from the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms.

The scale of in­vest­ment be­tween the two sides has also been grow­ing, ac­cord­ing to fi­nan­cial data provider Wind In­for­ma­tion.

Some 28 Euro­pean coun­tries in­vested $8.36 bil­lion in China in the first 10 months of this year, a 41.5 per­cent in­crease year-on-year. China’s in­vest­ment in the EU rose 0.03 per­cent year-on-year to $5.58 bil­lion be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber in 2016.

China’s non-mar­ket 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 “non-mar­ket econ­omy” for 15 years end­ing on Dec 11, 2016. As the dead­line draws near, how­ever, some mem­bers are dis­put­ing the au­to­matic recog­ni­tion of China as a mar­ket econ­omy.

the value of China’s ex­ports to the Euro­pean Union be­tween Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber 2016

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