<%=Keywords%> Trade office back to handle WTO disputes
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Trade office back to handle WTO disputes
The Ministry of Commerce announced the re-establishment of the International Trade Negotiations Office on Aug.11, amid worries that the country will be challenged with a new wave of trade remedy cases worldwide.
"The office aims to help strengthen the capability of the Chinese government on coordinating trade-related negotiations," ministry spokesman Yao Jian told China Daily.
The office will be in charge of "negotiations concerning trade conflicts and multilateral and bilateral regional trade cooperation with China", the ministry said.
Authorities are also considering launching a package of measures in the second half of this year to stimulate imports and balance foreign trade, it said.
The latest moves followed a growing trade surplus in the past few months, which fueled worries that the country will have to face more and tougher trade protectionist measures launched particularly by the United States and European Union.
But on Wednesday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) condemned the way the EU assesses duties on "unfairly priced imports" in a complaint brought by China over sales of screws and bolts. It said the EU discriminated against Chinese imports. The WTO stance marked a victory for China in its first trade dispute against the EU since joining the trade organization in 2001, Reuters reported.
The latest case involves duties of up to 85 percent, targeting hundreds of Chinese companies selling components used for cars, goods and machinery worth about 575 million euros ($755 million) a year.
China has been by far the biggest target of anti-dumping investigations. In 2009, the country was the target of 77 anti-dumping investigations out of a total of 201, and in the first four months of this year it was targeted in 12 out of 39 cases, WTO figures showed.
The country first set up its International Trade Negotiations Office with Vice-Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng as its representative.
The office played a significant role during half a year of consultations on textiles between China, the US and EU in 2005. But it was disbanded in 2008.
The Ministry of Commerce said on its website on Wednesday that the two vice-ministers of commerce, Gao Hucheng and Zhong Shan, will concurrently act as the representative and deputy representative of the re-established office starting on Thursday.
Former assistant to the minister of commerce Chong Quan will also take the post of deputy representative.
Gao is now in charge of European business at the commerce ministry. Zhong and Chong are responsible for dealing with foreign trade and trade remedy cases, as well as drafting treaties and laws.
Customs said on Tuesday that the nation's trade surplus for July surged by 170 percent from a year earlier to $28.7 billion, the highest since January 2009.
Many trade analysts predicted that the monthly trade surplus will remain high at above $20 billion for the rest of the year.
"I am still very concerned that the developed nations, represented by the US and EU, will again blame China for their own domestic problems and take the widened trade surplus as an excuse to initiate more trade remedy cases against China," said He Weiwen, deputy director of the China Institute for Open Economy of the University of International Business and Economics.
(Source from China Daily)