China faces rising trade disputes, yuan appreciation pressure

Chinese exporters have undergone an increasingly unfavorable trade climate this year as trade protectionism and yuan appreciation pressure have been on the rise amid the global financial crisis.

The following are major relevant cases, quotes and figures:

-- On Dec. 22, the European Union (EU) made a decision to extend dumping duties on leather footwear from China for another 15 months.

-- On Dec. 21, Zhou Xiaoyan, a Chinese Ministry of Commerce official, said as of the end of November, 19 countries and regions have launched 103 trade remedy investigations against Chinese products. Both the number of the cases and the money involved hit record high.

-- On Nov. 29, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in Nanjing when meeting with three Euro Group leaders that China had maintained the stability of the exchange rate of the currency yuan, making an important contribution to global financial stability and economic development.

Wen said China would continue to enhance the flexibility of the yuan exchange rate, acting on its own initiative and in a controllable and gradual manner, and keep it basically stable at reasonable, balanced levels.

-- On Nov. 24, the United States made a decision to impose duties ranging from 10.36 percent to 15.78 percent on Chinese oil well pipes for alleged unfair subsidies.

-- On Nov. 15, Nobel economics laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman pushed for a stronger yuan in an article entitled "World Out of Balance". He wrote, "China's weak-currency policy siphoned much-needed demand away from the rest of the world into the pockets of artificially competitive Chinese exporters."

Shaun Rein, founder and managing director of the China Market Research Group, a strategic market intelligence firm, said revaluing the yuan right now would "jeopardize the world's fledgling economic recovery". Rein argued, "It is better for American businesses for China to maintain current yuan rates until the worldwide recovery is on a firmer footing."

He stated that if the yuan were to appreciate, billions of U.S. dollars of purchasing power would be taken from American consumers, which he said satirically would not make the upcoming holiday season "such merry time".

-- On Oct. 6, the EU made a final ruling of imposing anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese seamless steel pipes. The five-year duties -- ranging from 17.7 percent to 39.2 percent -- were imposed on the accusation that the Chinese imports might cause material injury or threat, according to the EU.

-- On Sept. 11, U.S. President Barack Obama made a decision to impose punitive tariffs on tires imported from China, setting punitive tariffs at 35 percent in the first year, 30 percent in the second and 25 percent in the third.

-- From January to November, China's imports and exports totaled 1.96 trillion U.S. dollars, down 17.5 percent compared with the same period last year. In breakdown, exports stood at 1.07 trillion U.S. dollars, down 18.8 percent year on year, and imports at 893.02 billion U.S. dollars, down 15.8 percent, according to the General Administration of Customs. 

Source: Xinhua