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October 29, 2009

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China faces rising trade rows

GROWING global trade disputes and the "carbon tariff" that is being considered by some developed countries are among the challenges that China faces in its future economic development, said an assistant commerce minister in Shanghai yesterday.

In demonstrating their efforts to combat climate change, the United States and the European Union are considering to introduce a tariff on goods from countries where greenhouse gas emission policies do not match certain emission reduction targets. However, such a "carbon tariff" can also serve as a weapon to curb trade and is de facto protectionism in the name of environmental protection, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

"The increasing trade protectionism has posed a serious threat to China's future development," said Assistant Commerce Minister Fang Aiqing yesterday at the 6th Forum on International Competitiveness of China's Industries.

In his opinion, growing trade disputes over dumping and subsidy charges as well as the so-called "carbon tariff" are examples of deepening protectionism amid the global economic slowdown.

In the first eight months, 17 countries started a total of 79 trade investigations at China. The number of investigations rose 16.2 percent from the same period of last year, with its value more than doubling to US$10 billion.

China's economy has reversed a slowdown, thanks to the timely implementation of stimulus policies. Its gross domestic product grew 8.9 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, strengthening from 7.9 percent growth in the second quarter and 6.1 percent rise in the first three months.

But a long-term development of the world's third-largest economy still hinges on the recovery of global demand and whether China can reform its economic structure, Fang said.

"The fundamental solution to all these problems is to raise the competitiveness of China's industries, and make them driven more by knowledge and technology," Fang said.


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