Beijing seeks WTO redress over US levies

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 May, 2012, 12:00am
 

China yesterday complained to the World Trade Organisation about duties the United States has levied on goods it deems unfairly subsidised.

The dispute, revolving around so-called countervailing duties, relates to 22 products with an annual export value of US$7.3 billion, China's mission to the WTO said.

The Ministry of Commerce did not specific what they are.

The complaint adds to a string of trade disputes between China, the world's largest exporter, and its second-largest export market.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang accused the US of 'abusing' trade measures and hurting Chinese exporters by levying countervailing duties.

US officials were unavailable for comment.

Shen said Beijing wanted the US to rectify the situation through dialogue and communication under the WTO arbitration mechanism.

If the parties still fail to reach any settlement, the case may move to arbitration. The US could be forced to scrap its duties and even pay compensation if it is found to have broken the rules.

Shen said the US decision last week to levy a 31 per cent anti-dumping duty on Chinese-made solar panels, was 'wrong again'.

The US said it found Chinese exporters dumped solar panels in the US market at unfairly low prices and levied the punitive duties.

In a move analysts view as retaliation, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday it would probe unfair grants the US allegedly provided for renewable-energy firms. The ministry claims the grants breach WTO rules.

Fearing a trade war, 14 Chinese industry players, including Yingli and Suntech Power, the world's largest producers of solar panels, banded together on Thursday to call for a amicable settlement.

Some economists said America's relentless efforts in pressing for the yuan to appreciate and trade disputes, together with rising costs, had tarnished China's reputation as the factory of the world.

'The threat of anti-dumping measures and protectionism is forcing companies to assess the extent of their reliance on China,' Mizuho Securities chief economist Shen Jianguang said. He said Asian countries took a larger slice of world trade recently, with some labour-intensive manufacturing activities flowing into low-cost regions such as Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Vietnam.

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