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Global economic woes mire China in trade rows

(China Daily)

13:36, September 19, 2012

An auto parts exhibition in Beijing in April. On Monday, US President Barack Obama announced the United States would go to the World Trade Organization to file a lawsuit alleging that China provides subsidies to companies that make automobiles and auto parts, thus harming their US competitors. [Photo/China Daily]

On Monday, US President Barack Obama announced the United States would go to the World Trade Organization to file a lawsuit alleging that China provides subsidies to companies that make automobiles and auto parts, thus harming their US competitors.

In response, the Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday: "The US' decision was made out of political considerations. A presidential election is now going on in the US and President Obama made the announcement in Ohio, which is a state where much automobile production takes place. China is firmly opposed to the US action."

While uncertainties about Europe's debt troubles linger and the US economic troubles wield a strong influence over the current presidential campaign, a new wave of trade protectionism is being directed against China.

China has repeatedly called on the US to abide by its commitment to fight trade protectionism and to ensure that international trade is conducted in an open and fair manner.

"From cases involving solar panels to rare earths and many other sorts of products, we have already seen that trade protectionism is being used more often against China, and this will probably continue for a couple more months," said Zhang Xiangchen, director-general of the Ministry of Commerce's department of policy research.

He said "the US and the (European Union) will be the most aggressive players in the game", noting that their economies are plagued by either "high unemployment" or "huge debt burdens".

In early September, the EU announced plans to start an anti-dumping investigation into exports of Chinese solar panels, which, last year, had a value of 21 billion euros ($27.5 billion). The probe came at the request of a group of 25 producers of solar equipment and is the biggest-ever anti-dumping claim to be submitted to the bloc. The EU countries are the chief destinations of Chinese exports, making it likely that the investigation will deal a devastating blow to Chinese solar companies if it results in the imposition of greater duties.

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