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TRADE WARS
French minister hails EU duties on Chinese ceramics
by Staff Writers
Limoges, France (AFP) Nov 16, 2012


China to obey ruling on US steel imports: WTO
Geneva (AFP) Nov 16, 2012 - China said Friday it would change its restrictive policy on certain steel imports from the United States after the World Trade Organization declared that China was in breach of international trade rules.

After a meeting of the world trade arbiter's dispute settlement body in Geneva, China said that although it "may not agree" with all the WTO's findings, it would respect them and "work hard to implement" them.

The Chinese statement follows a meeting on October 18 of the WTO's appellate body which found that Chinese duties on specialist high-value magnetic US rolled steel were illegal, as the US had complained.

The WTO had ruled on June 15 that China breached trade rules by not providing sufficient evidence for imposing the duties, but that decision was appealed by Beijing five days later.

The dispute dates back to September 2010 when Washington accused China of breaching trade rules by not providing sufficient evidence that anti-dumping duties were needed on US imports of electrical steel used in the power sector.

After China's announcement at the WTO it must soon indicate to the body's other member nations how it intends to bring its legislation in line with WTO rules.

French Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg hailed on Friday temporary European Union (EU) measures against Chinese ceramic imports, using a visit to this iconic city to warn EU partners against being "naive" on trade issues.

"I welcome that the European Commission, in the case of ceramics, has taken a decision on customs duties on imports of certain products, notably from China," Montebourg said during a visit to Limoges, a central French city known for its fine porcelain.

The French minister also singled out solar panels and lighters among the products that the French government has asked be subjected to measures of protection.

"We cannot remain some sort of vast market naively open to unfair globalisation while our competitors use protectionism, currency manipulation, rock-bottom prices, worker exploitation, and disregard for international environmental and social regulations to destroy our production capacity," Montebourg said.

"The only one that does not practice protectionism is the European Union. Why are we the naive ones in the global village," he asked before adding: "We are not an economy of Care Bears," in reference to a brand of stuffed toys for infants.

On Friday, the EU imposed anti-dumping measures for six months against Chinese-made ceramic tableware, in the form of additional customs duties.

It was the latest step in a series marked by charges and counter-charges among global trading powers.

On November 5, a source close to the World Trade Organization said that China had filed a complaint against the Union over subsidies to the renewable energy sector.

The complaint came after China announced a trade investigation into EU exports of solar-grade polysilicon, and was seen as an escalation of a bitter trade row with the bloc, which in September unveiled a similar probe into Chinese products.

The solar import battle is one of several trade disputes between China and its Western trading partners which also involve cars, steel and rare earth minerals.

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