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December 24, 2009

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Tit-for-tat move in trade rows

CHINA will impose temporary anti-dumping tariffs on imports of carbon steel fasteners from the European Union, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.

The move came after EU ministers on Tuesday decided to extend import duties on shoes from China and Vietnam by 15 months.

The global trade disputes have triggered a chain effect as they have now spread to more markets and involving more industries, according to observers.

China's preliminary ruling requires importers of carbon steel fasteners from the EU to pay deposits ranging from 16.8 to 24.6 percent to Customs from next Monday, according to the ministry statement. It said the products imported from the EU were found dumped in China and damaged the Chinese industries.

The carbon steel fasteners, such as screws and bolts, are widely used in the production of cars, electronic products and in construction.

Just a day earlier, the EU said it would extend import duties of up to 16.5 percent on imports of Chinese leather shoes and 10 percent on those made in Vietnam.

Zhou Xiaoyan, director of the ministry's fair trade bureau, said during an online interview earlier this week that China's foreign trade has a more complicated and grave outlook next year due to increasing global competition and protectionism.

In the first 11 months of this year, 19 economies have launched 103 probes against Chinese products. The number of cases and the amount hit a record high, Zhou said.

Zhou predicted more foreign countries and more industries will be involved in trade disputes.

In Geneva on Monday, China lost its appeal against a WTO ruling that it violated trade commitments by imposing controls on imported publications. Also, China's request for an expert panel to investigate special safeguard tariffs imposed by the United States on China-made tires was blocked by the US.

Li Enheng, an adviser to the Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center, said "developed members should refrain from demanding unrealistic market access" in their disputes with developing countries.


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