A growing number of international trade disputes will challenge China next year as protectionism resulting from the sluggish world economy picks up among some of its trade partners, said anti-dumping officials.
The officials urged the government, enterprises, industrial associations and chambers of commerce to keep a close eye on the trend and protect China's trade interests.
Wang Qinhua, general director of the Bureau of Industrial Injury Investigation under the State Economic and Trade Commission, said the challenge comes from China's global status as the world's major export and import country.
With the reduction of tariffs and the phasing-out of non-tariff measures as required by the World Trade Organization, China is likely to see an increasing number of cases in which the dumping of foreign products damages Chinese industries, said Wang.
"The trend is more evident next year, as many countries have aimed to boost exports to develop their economy," said the official, adding that China was their major export market.
On the other hand, the countries will map out policies to stop many exports from China into their domestic market with an effort to protect their own industries amid slow economic growth.
Wang unveiled the warning at a workshop on anti-dumping organized by China Federation of Industrial Economics over the weekend in Beijing.
Statistics indicated that China has been saddled with the most anti-dumping charges. Since the 1990s, every one-in-six anti-dumping and safeguard-measure cases involved Chinese products.
By the end of October, 544 cases of anti-dumping and safeguard-measure investigations in 33 countries and regions involve China, with commodities worth US$16 billion at stake, according to official statistics. For its imports, China has only initiated 21 anti-dumping investigations against foreign exporters, most of which concern chemical products since 1997, when China enacted its Anti-Dumping Law.
At the workshop, some experts said the relatively low price of Chinese products and the rapid rise of China's exports had triggered the large number of anti-dumping actions.
Experts said the competitive edge of some labour-intensive Chinese products on the international market may have led to anti-dumping actions from some developed countries, who fear their products risk being forced out of the market.
Wang said: "It is imperative for China to adopt anti-dumping, anti-subsidiary and protective measures to regulate international trade order and to protect the security of domestic industry."
(China Daily December 30, 2002)