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2013年6月11日 (火)

中国・欧州摩擦 世界経済を損なう不公正貿易

The Yomiuri Shimbun June 11, 2013
Unfair trade practices, protectionism hurting growth of world economy
中国・欧州摩擦 世界経済を損なう不公正貿易(6月9日付・読売社説)

International trade disputes have been erupting frequently. It is important to correct unfair trade practices and revitalize the world economy.

The European Union recently reached a provisional decision to impose antidumping levies on imports of Chinese solar panels in two stages, saying that Chinese firms are exporting them at improperly low prices.

The EU will impose a tariff of about 12 percent on imported Chinese solar panels until early August, and increase this to an average of 48 percent later if Beijing does not take corrective measures to resolve the issue. The EU will decide by the end of the year on whether to keep the levies in place.

According to the EU, Chinese exporters sell their solar panels for as much as 90 percent below a fair market price. They have apparently been trying to increase sales in the EU market, the biggest export market for their products, with scant regard for making a profit.

Battered by China’s low-priced sales drive, business conditions for their European counterparts have deteriorated. Some have gone bankrupt.

EU position understandable

We can understand the EU stance of trying to rectify an unfair trade practice, in line with international rules of the World Trade Organization.

The EU will impose a low tariff in the first stage, as it attempts to elicit concessions from China amicably. It also took into account the caution some member nations such as Germany feel about taking tough measures against Beijing.

However, China reacted sharply and announced it would launch an investigation into the possible dumping of European wine on its market. This appears to be a tit-for-tat response.

As it remains uncertain whether European wine exports actually caused any actual loss to the Chinese market, Beijing’s forceful action can hardly be considered as adhering to international rules.

China and the EU also are at loggerheads over China-made mobile telecommunications equipment. The EU has launched an investigation into possible dumping by Chinese makers. The current situation could degenerate into the mutual imposition of sanctions.

EU countries and China have become key trading partners. Should their trade conflict escalate, it would adversely affect the global economy. We hope the EU and China try to settle their disputes as soon as possible through dialogue.

The growing trend toward protectionism in various parts of the world is a cause for concern. This is apparently designed to assist domestic industries while the world economy dawdles toward a full-fledged recovery and some newly emerging economies face a slowdown in growth.

Japan claim upheld

In May, the WTO upheld Japan’s claim against a controversial feed-in tariff program introduced by the Canadian province of Ontario. Only companies that meet certain local content levels for renewable energy-related equipment can take part in the program, in which electricity generated from renewable energy sources is sold to power companies at fixed prices.
The WTO ordered the province to take corrective measures.

Japan, together with the United States and the EU, have filed claims against China’s export controls on rare earth minerals, as well as Argentina’s import permission system for certain goods, such as automobiles. They referred the issues to the WTO because they wanted action to correct these unfair trade practices.

The rise of trade protectionism is detrimental to development of the world economy. Japan has to devise a strategy to cooperate with the United States and European countries, while holding on to the WTO rules as fundamental to promoting the global economy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 9, 2013)
(2013年6月9日01時45分  読売新聞)


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