China launches fresh WTO complaint against US, EU
China said yesterday it had launched a complaint at the World Trade Organization over the approach used by the United States and European Union to calculate anti-dumping measures against Chinese exports. When China joined the WTO in 2001, its accession terms allowed other WTO members to treat it as a non-market economy when assessing dumping duties for 15 years.
That gave trade partners the advantage of using a third country’s prices to gauge whether China was selling its goods below market value. But part of that clause expired on Dec 11, which China says means trading partners must drop their use of such surrogate pricing. US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in November the time was “not ripe” for the United States to change the way it evaluates whether China has achieved market economy status, and there was no international trade rules requiring changes in the way US anti-dumping duties are calculated. China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website that 15 years on, all WTO members had an obligation to stop using the surrogate country approach.
“Regretfully, the United States and European Union have yet to fulfil this obligation,” the ministry said.
The European Commission said it had received the request for consultations, the first step in a WTO dispute. “We regret that China is launching this dispute now despite the fact that the Commission has already made a proposal to amend the legislation in question,” a Commission spokesman said.
The Commission proposed last month a new way of treating China, but its plans await approval from the EU’s 28 members and the European Parliament. Last week it angered Beijing by launching an anti-dumping case under the old system - using the prices of a third country - just days before the Dec. 11 deadline.
Separately, a Chinese ministry official said in another statement a US investigation into what it regards as Chinese dumping of plywood products launched last week amounted to abuse of emergency trade relief measures. The United States and European Union are some of the biggest levellers of antidumping measures under this process against China. The measures have seriously affected exports and employment for Chinese firms, the ministry added.
“China reserves the right under WTO rules to resolutely defend its legal rights,” it added, without elaborating.
The United States has repeatedly argued that China’s market reforms have fallen short of expectations, especially in aluminium and steel, where state intervention has led to overcapacity, threatening industries around the world. — Reuters