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Disputes grow with trade
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China's foreign trade and overseas investment by domestic companies has continued to grow rapidly despite a congruent increase in trade conflicts, a report released by the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.

The country's foreign trade surpassed $2 trillion in 2007, a 23.5 percent increase over the previous year, making China the world's third largest trader. Overseas investment by Chinese companies in non-financial sectors increased 6.2 percent year-on-year to $18.7 billion last year, the report said.

The ministry yesterday released the report on the investment environment for China's major trade partners to help trade partners understand one another and relevant trade barriers. The ministry has released the report annually since 2003.

Despite the overall trade increase, "China still faces a stern situation in terms of trade conflicts", the report said. According to ministry statistics, more than 20 countries and regions launched 81 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese enterprises in 2007. These cases dealt with a total of $3.6 billion in capital, a 95.1 percent year-on-year increase.

As China's foreign trade rapidly develops, some governments and organizations have created various trade and investment barriers to protect their domestic industries and markets, and enterprises should pay attention to the changing situation, the report said.

"Some of the regulations don't comply with WTO rules, and they have a huge impact on China's exports," said Yu Benlin, deputy chief of the commerce minstry's bureau of trade fairs for imports and exports.

Yu also said enterprises should take the foremost role in dealing with these suits and protecting their interests.

The United States, China's second largest trade partner, had launched 129 anti-dumping investigations into Chinese enterprises by 2007. "US trade protectionism is becoming fiercer, and that runs counter to the global trend of a decline in trade remedy cases," the report said.

(China Daily April 25, 2008)

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