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China vexed by soaring trade frictions

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-09 10:40

BEIJING - Rising alongside the foreign trade volume, trade remedy probes are vexing China, saddling the world's second-largest economy with the work of easing a "growing pain".

The country's Ministry of Commerce said Monday that China was targeted by 77 trade remedy probes initiated by 21 countries in 2012, up 11.6 percent year-on-year.

China had launched 210 trade remedy probes against imported products aligning with global rules by 2012.

The probes involved $27.7 billion, a surge of 369 percent from 2012, the ministry said.

In the past decade, China has faced 842 cases filed around the world and involving a total of $73.6 billion. It was also the target of 130 intellectual property probes by the United States, according to MOC's data.

Over half of the world's countervailing measures are directed at China, said Yi Xiaozhun, China's permanent representative to the World Trade Organization.

Early last month, Yi warned that China should be mindful of rising trade frictions with European countries and the US, as they are adopting increasingly harsh trade relief measures for Chinese exports.

Among the most notable cases was the European Union's 2012 anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar panels and key components from China, which involved over $20 billion.

Song Ping, an investigator with the MOC, said at a press conference held by the MOC on Monday that the soaring amount of cases have grown out of China's speedy economic expansion and rocketing foreign trade.

He attributed the issue to growing trade protectionism following the global financial crisis and the imbalanced market goals of Chinese enterprises.

Meanwhile, more developing countries have adopted harsher trade relief measures for Chinese products. Last year, these countries launched 54 trade remedy probes against China, or 70.1 percent of the total.

New challenges and mutual benefit go together, considering the rapid growth of China's foreign trade with emerging markets, MOC spokesman Yao Jian said.

According to the ministry, China was targeted by 22 such cases worth $963 million from 12 countries in the first quarter of 2013, up 22.2 percent year-on-year, the MOC said.

Song forecast that trade frictions will become commonplace and complex in 2013, and will remain a tough, long-term issue for China to handle in the future.

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