Trade frictions with the EU likely to grow

Updated: 2014-02-07 02:31

By Li Jiabao (China Daily)

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European Parliament may look for new measures to fight products from China

China and the European Union may face a fresh round of trade friction as Brussels is planning harsher trade defenses against Chinese imports.

EU trade chief Karel de Gucht is seeking to update the tools that Brussels uses to fight "unfair trade practices" and which date from before China's transformation into a powerful exporter, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Some in Europe say the rules are too soft. The European Parliament pressed the trade chief on Wednesday to build stronger defenses against cheap imports from China.

EU lawmakers want to make it easier for small companies to take on countries that flout world trade rules by exporting goods at below the cost of production. Legislators also want to do away with a European rule that limits punitive sanctions to only what is absolutely necessary to correct any injury caused by illegally subsidized imports, Reuters said.

The Parliament's position is "a lot more radical", Christofer Fjellner, the lawmaker leading negotiations with the European Commission on the issue, was quoted as saying. The commission is the 28-nation bloc's trade authority in Brussels.

Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, called the moves "trade protectionism that aims to boost local employment.

"The EU's economic recovery is very slow and the unemployment rate is very high. The bloc expects more jobs. This is the key reason for the protectionist move," Sang said on Thursday.

He added that China, which is tipped to become the world's largest goods trader, has very competitive advantages, especially price advantages, in exports to the EU.

Sang said China should turn to the dispute settlement body of the World Trade Organization and push the EU to avoid the misuse of trade protectionism measures.

"The Chinese government must increase direct communication with the EU because China-EU trade growth benefits both sides. Only bilateral trade expansion can create more jobs in the bloc and boost its economic recovery," Sang said.

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