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Anti-dumping Review Tops Agenda

An official from the Bureau of Fair Trade for Import and Export said they are facing an uphill battle in reviewing anti-dumping measures, as many have already taken effect. Since April this year, the bureau has launched 10 anti-dumping reviews, of which four have been completed. “We expect more in the future and it will be a challenge for us,” he said.

The Bureau of Fair Trade for Import and Export and Bureau of Industry Injury Investigation of the Ministry of Commerce are the two departments in China responsible for anti-dumping cases.


The trade remedy bodies have never before faced so many reviews.


Many of the anti-dumping measures were implemented four or five years ago, close to the time for review. Also, with pressure from increased imports looming, more domestic companies will turn to trade remedies -- mostly anti-dumping -- for help.


China saw its first half-year trade deficit of US$6.8 billion this year, as imports surged 42.6 percent compared to 35.7 percent for exports. The sharp rise in imports, which is usually combined with unfair trade behaviors, will force local companies to use more legal remedies, said the official.


This trend will intensify as local industries feel the impact of China’s entry into WTO. According to its WTO commitments, in the third year of its WTO membership China must grant foreign trading rights to companies where foreign investors hold a majority share. The average tariff rate on all goods will be slashed from 35.6 percent to 10.4 percent this year.


The official said more foreign companies are expected to apply for administrative and judicial review on increasing trade remedies, which may push their governments to bargain or even return to the WTO for remedies.


“We have prepared for it, although we will try our best to make the decision fair,” he said.


He said the investigative authorities will make more adequate disclosures about their decision-making rationale and procedures, in accordance with related rules and WTO principles.


To date, China has filed 96 anti-dumping investigations and 64 have been concluded.


Anti-dumping measures have been implemented on products with a total value of US$6.3 billion, mostly in the chemical and steel industries.


Analysts said a more aggressive attitude to applying trade remedies is what China, the biggest victim of anti-dumping measures, needs.


But the government should first show strength in dealing with the accumulation of anti-dumping cases, says Liang Yanfen, director of the Center for WTO Studies of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.


She said China’s increasing propensity to file trade remedies has attracted foreign attention, which means that the decision-making process has to be perfect.


For example, the US Department of Commerce recently established a Trade Remedy Compliance Staff (TRCS) to monitor foreign trade trends and trade remedy policies. It is focusing on China and South Korea as its starting point.


According to the WTO, there have been a total of 2,416 anti-dumping cases registered since its establishment in 1995, with 356 of them -- one-seventh -- concerning China.


In the US government, more than 800 people are working on anti-dumping, but in China the number is 100. “That means several people work on one case in the US while one person works on several cases in China,” said Liang.


Fan Min, of Jilin Paper Industry, said that domestic companies should file charges efficiently to save their profits. Her company recently won a review of anti-dumping measures against imported newsprint from Canada, South Korea and the United States,


“Selling under abnormally low prices is a quick way for some foreign companies to occupy the Chinese market,” she said. These foreign companies often have sufficient financial clout to afford the cost and squeeze Chinese companies out.


(China Daily July 22, 2004)

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