China's foreign trade to hit new high, but exports environment worsens

21:48, December 17, 2010      

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China's foreign trade is expected to hit a historic high this year, yet the nation's exporters are likely to come up against more trade barriers as the world economy struggles to stage a bullish recovery.

The total value of China's imports and exports are projected to exceed 2.9 trillion U.S. dollars in 2010, Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan told a press conference Friday.

The nation's foreign trade rebounded sharply this year from the recession level in 2009, when foreign trade contracted to 2.21 trillion U.S. dollars, down 13.9 percent from 2008.

China's foreign trade jumped 36.3 percent year on year to 2.67728 trillion U.S. dollars in the first 11 months of the year, with exports up 34 percent from one year ago, according to the latest customs figures.

However, this year is the most complicated year for Chinese exporters, as China was frequently pressed in issues ranging from the renminbi exchange rate, independent innovation, new energy policies to intellectual property rights, investment environment, and rare earth exports.

China was the subject of 56 trade remedy investigations launched by 19 countries and regions in the first 11 months, with a total involved value of about 7 billion U.S. dollars, statistics from the MOC Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports and Exports show.

In addition, the United States launched 19 investigations into alleged intellectual property rights infringements by Chinese companies over the period, and one into China's clean energy sector, claiming government support gave Chinese producers unfair advantages, according to the MOC bureau.

Trade frictions against China have increased as emerging economies have joined developed nations in their wariness of trade imbalances, and now energy and electronic products are being targeted as well as labor-intensive products such as textile and chemical products, said Zhong.

In the first half of the year, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) launched a total of 69 anti-dumping probes and five anti-subsidy investigations worldwide, down 29 percent and 44 percent year on year, respectively, said Yang Yi, director with the MOC Bureau of Industry Injury Investigation.

Despite a decline in the number of global trade remedy probes amid a worldwide economic recovery, China's exporters still face a challenging external environment. Trade investigations have remained frequent this year and trade frictions regarding intellectual property rights and fair spread of technology have increased, said a report issued by the ministry Friday.

The report said China has become a major target of trade remedy investigations this year because trade protectionism has gained momentum as European countries and the United States attempt to narrow their trade deficits.

The report also forecast that frequent trade frictions will last for sometime, as major economies are inclined to be more inward looking given the uncertain global economic outlook.

The report suggested China more frequently resort to WTO dispute settlement mechanisms. The nation had filed six WTO complaints by the end of 2009 since it joined the organization in November 2001, according to the report.

The government will increase its efforts to establish systems to better safeguard the country's industrial security and the legitimate rights of the domestic enterprises, and it will also promote industrial communications, in an effort to iron out trade conflicts between domestic and their overseas counterparts, said Zhong.

Source: Xinhua
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