The Star Early Edition

EU, China trade ties in the spotlight

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THE EU will take the first step on Wednesday towards refashioni­ng its trade ties with Beijing, torn over how to lower its defences to avert Chinese retaliatio­n, while protecting key industries against a damaging flood of cheap imports. Commission­ers from the bloc’s 28 members will debate for the first time the politicall­y sensitive issue of granting China “market economy status” from last month, which Beijing says is its right 15 years after it joined the World Trade Organisati­on. The coveted status would make it much harder for Europe to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods sold at knock-down prices, changing the criteria for determinin­g a fair price. A study by a group of 25 European manufactur­ing federation­s estimates the EU could lose up to 3.5 million jobs if it removes its trade defences against China. The bloc’s final decision will set it on a collision course either with Beijing or with its own manufactur­ers and with Washington, which sees no obligation to treat China’s heavily state-shaped economy as a market economy. – Reuters

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