BRUSSELS: The European Union (EU) should restrain its use of anti-dumping measures against imports from China, the Chinese ambassador to the EU urged on Tuesday, calling for more dialogue and cooperation.
"We saw reemergence of anti-dumping cases against China recently. An increasing number of Chinese enterprises received unfair treatment. We are very concerned about this," Song Zhe told the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament, which is newly formed after June elections.
"But we believe between China and Europe, there is more cooperation than competition, more opportunities than challenges. At present, it is urgent to strengthen economic and trade cooperation by maintaining mutual flow of trade and investment and creating more business opportunities," he added.
Faced with the worst economic crisis in decades, the EU has launched a series of anti-dumping actions against China this year, covering a wide range of Chinese products. As from late July, the 27-nation bloc took five separate decisions in just three weeks.
Such a frequent use of anti-dumping probes and punitive duties has been unprecedented. The EU's unusual move leads to concern, especially when the world economy is in recession due to the financial crisis.
"We hope the EU will prevent this uncontrolled development of anti-dumping. We also hope to strengthen dialogue and refrain from arbitrary use of anti-dumping measures for the sake of further cooperation opportunities," Song said.
He said that China has been opposed to any form of protectionism, especially in the current financial crisis which needs cooperation among world governments rather than protection.
In his address to EU lawmakers, Song noted that economic and trade cooperation has always been an important part of China-EU relations, which he said are becoming more mature and stable in recent decades.
Currently, China and the EU are one of the most important trade partners to each other. Bilateral trade volume reached 425.6 billion US dollars in 2008 from 2.4 billion dollars in 1975, an increase of 176 times, according to Song.
Mutual investment also started from scratch and now the EU have made a total investment of 63.9 billion US dollars and operating more than 20,000 companies in China. In recent years, Chinese companies are beginning to invest actively in Europe.
The sustained and rapid development of China-EU economic and trade cooperation has created huge benefit to both sides and helps promote closer bilateral relationship.
However, Song acknowledged the China-EU trade and investment have no escape from the current global financial crisis.
"In the first seven months, bilateral trade volume fell by 20.7 percent and the EU investment in China fell by 4.8 percent. China- EU trade and economic relations are facing severe test," he said.
Despite the difficulties, Song referred to the bright sides. He said the economic stimulus plans implemented by China and the EU provide enterprises of both sides with new business opportunities, while both markets contain great potential in the wake of the crisis.
But Song stressed unless China and the EU make efforts to defuse friction and contradictions, to strengthen consultation and cooperation and seek mutual benefit and win-win results, the great potential can not be translated into reality.
He said China and the EU should have a strategic perspective on the long-term development of bilateral relations and make sure that temporary issue does not affect the mainstream of cooperation.
Challenged by an EU lawmaker on the EU's trade deficit with China, which is a major concern for the 27-nation bloc, Song said it has been caused by various reasons and China is working on that.
"The trade imbalance is caused by many reasons, including the international industrial transfer and thus the relocation of trade. China's trade policy is not the cause," he said. "Nevertheless, in recent years, the Chinese government adopted a series of measures to encourage more imports, such as import promotion activities, greater facilitation of imports, sending purchasing groups and so on."
Separately, a senior official of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in Beijing on Monday that China's trade surplus with the EU for 2009 will be less than last year.
Song said in order to solve problems arising from expanding trade relations, China and the EU should uphold the principle of mutual openness and mutual benefit, maintain and improve the existing communication and coordination mechanisms, and give full play to complementary advantages of both economies.