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EU Comments On China's Trade Policies

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

07 June 2010

The European Union (EU) has called on China to shoulder its responsibilities in the multilateral trading system and stick to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and its accession commitments such as non-discrimination.

Following the recent two-day review of China's trade policy and practice in Geneva, the EU urged Beijing to take on an increased leadership role, especially in the Doha talks, in a way that reflects its global economic weight.

The EU expressed concerns about a slow-down of reform and less transparency in China and has submitted more than 200 technical questions to China on many aspects of its trade policy.

In its opening statement to the Trade Policy Review meeting, the EU drew attention to some specific concerns, including the continued problem of non-tariff barriers in China. The EU pointed to the burdensome regulatory regime, which it said is "characterized by low alignment to international standards, the recurrent use of export barriers, and investment restrictions to foreign companies." The EU also deems it  "essential" that China's innovation policy ensures "open and fair competition without restrictions in terms of market access."

Whilst the EU acknowledged improvements in intellectual property rights protection in China, it emphasized the urgent need for greater enforcement efforts, including effective customs controls and criminal prosecution.

Europe is also concerned that "unjustified state interference in the economy persists," notably in the manufacturing sectors, in which China has become a leader worldwide. The Chinese government's guidance in allocating resources and official trade finance support are other examples, the EU noted.

The EU urged China to make its trade regime "significantly more predictable and transparent."

The full list of questions and China's final responses are expected to be published by the WTO within 60 days.

China is the EU's fastest growing export market. Europe exported EUR81.6bn worth of goods to China in 2009 - up by 4% in 2008, while EU imported more than EUR214bn of goods from China. China is the world largest exporter and second largest importer. China is set to overtake Japan as the world's second largest economy in 2010.

TAGS: business | law | intellectual property | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | China | manufacturing | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe

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