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China is a target in 60 trade probes

CHINA was cited in 60 investigations by foreign trade partners in the first half of the year, a sign of rising global protectionism, according to a commercial official.

The investigations, initiated by 15 countries, involved trade worth US$8.267 billion and were "unprecedented both in terms of the number of cases and the value," Liu Danyang, vice director of the Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports and Exports under the Ministry of Commerce, said yesterday.

Last year Chinese foreign trade companies were cited in 62 investigations concerning accusations of dumping, subsidies and safeguard measures, that involved US$6.2 billion, said Liu.

"The situation this year reveals that trade protectionism is on the rise in many countries despite global calls against it," Liu said.

Handling trade disputes had become a significant task for China's commercial authorities, Liu said.

The official called for cooperation, stressing that "irresponsible trade protectionism will only harm both sides of the deal."

In addition to the usual charges, Chinese trading companies suffered new protectionist measures of higher tariffs, technical barriers, depreciation and trans-national investment obstruction, he said. Some countries were taking advantage of their developed markets and advanced technologies and products to crack down on developing countries or their rising industries, Liu said.

Liu cited the example of Guangdong Provincial Food Industry Institute's legal battle against Kate & Lyle, one of the world's biggest sugar companies, over the alleged intellectual property right infringement of an artificial sweetener in April. He said the case was similar to many others, in which powerful companies were trying to snuff out new rivals to retain their dominant position.


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