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Anti-dumping Review Tops Agenda

China's trade remedy bodies will face much hard work in the next two years as domestic enterprises request further anti-dumping investigations and more anti-dumping measures are up for review.

An official from the Bureau of Fair Trade for Import and Export said they will face an uphill battle with the review of the anti-dumping measures in effect, as many of them have already taken effect.

Four reviews have been conducted since April this year, among the total of 10 that the bureau has launched.

"We expect more in the future and it will be a challenge for us," he said.

The trade remedy bodies have never faced such a big number of reviews because many of the anti-dumping measures were implemented four or five years ago, close to the time for review.

And with pressure from increased imports looming, more domestic companies will turn to trade remedies, mostly anti-dumping, for help, he said.

China saw its first half-year trade deficit of US$6.82 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 behaviours, will force the local companies to use more legal remedies, said the official.

This trend will be further intensified as local industries suffer the impact of China's entry into WTO with China to fulfill more promises and the transitional period closing at the end of this year, he said.

According to China's WTO commitments, China should grant foreign trading rights to companies where foreign investors hold a majority share in the third year of its WTO membership. China will slash its average tariff rate on all goods from 35.6 percent to 10.4 percent this year.

And he expected more foreign companies to apply for administrative and judicial review on increasing trade remedies.

They may push their governments to bargain or even return to the WTO for remedies.

"We have prepared for it, though 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.

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 piling-up of anti-dumping cases, says Liang Yanfen, director of the center for WTO studies of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

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 lack of professional staff in anti-dumping is a big headache, Liang said.

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

"Selling under abnormally low prices is a quick way for some foreign companies to occupy the Chinese market," she said.

And these foreign companies often have sufficient financial clout to afford the cost and squeeze Chinese companies out, she said.

Liang said China's increasing moves in filing trade remedies have attracted foreign attention, which means that the decision-making process has to be perfect.

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

On the other side, according to the figures from the WTO, there have been a total of 2,416 anti-dumping cases registered since the WTO's establishment in 1995, with 356 of them - one seventh - concerning China.

(China Daily July 22, 2004)

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