Market economy status not a bilateral negotiation

Updated: 2016-02-18 07:55

By Yang Yanyi(China Daily)

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Market economy status not a bilateral negotiation


The protectionist sentiment and the confrontational approach that have emerged in the European Union are worrying, as well as being regrettable and misleading.

On Friday, the European Commission opened new anti-dumping investigations on steel products originating from China, and the European steel industry organized a demonstration against so-called Chinese dumping in the EU market and the granting of Market Economy Status to China.

Nobody should be under any illusion: overcapacity, including excess capacity in the global steel sector is one of the many challenges we are all faced with. Not only the European steel industry has been hard hit, iron and steel industries in China and many other emerging economies are suffering badly from excessive production and flagging demand.

According to some estimates, cutting back the overcapacity in China by 30 percent in those industries with most excess capacity-iron and steel, coal, cement, shipbuilding, aluminum and flat glass-is expected to affect the employment of 3 million workers.

Not to mention that China is also confronted with many other daunting tasks: lifting 70 million people out of poverty, advancing industrialization to transform China into a post-industrial society, rebalancing the economy from investment and net exports to consumption and innovation.

The situation is serious and requires a response.

But what kind of response? Grumble, curse, cut the ground from under other's feet? Retreat into protectionism and be at each other's throats?

If history serves as a guide, these are unwelcome if not irresponsible responses. They may help to give vent to the anger and frustration of some and obtain short-term gains, but they fail to serve the common long-term interests of all.

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