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China: Scrap Protectionism to Ensure Success of China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty

By | Feb 17, 2017 11:52 AM EST
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China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty

Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong (R) hug Androulla Vassiliou (L) of European Union Commissioner after the signing ceremony during the second meeting of China-EU high-level People-to People Dialogue at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China. (Photo : Lintao Zhang/Pool/Getty Images)

The Chinese government has asked the European Union to do away with trade protectionism to ensure the success of the China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty.

The call was made by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who urged the EU's leadership to resolve the issue during a meeting on Thursday with German Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, China Daily reported. 

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The meeting between the two diplomats took place on the sidelines of the G-20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bonn, Germany.

It was during the meeting that concerns over protectionism, which is considered as a lapse in the World Trade Organization's (WTO) protocol, were raised by the Chinese envoy.

Policy analysts say that unless this matter is decisively resolved, it would be difficult to move the China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty forward.

In particular, Wang appealed to the German government to exert more pressure on the EU to honor an early date that operationalizes Article 15 of the Protocol on China's Accession to the WTO.

Article 15 states that the use of the "surrogate country" approach in anti-dumping probes against China should have already been scraped since Dec. 11.

With this approach, WTO members use the costs of production in a third country to determine the value of products based on a "non-market economy" list.

Unfortunately, this practice has not augured well for the world economy in general, as it has allowed high tariffs to be slapped on "erring" member-nations during trade disputes.

It also provides a disincentive for trade deals such as the China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty.

Moreover, the strategy has resulted in discriminative antidumping probes and prompted widespread complaints from Chinese companies.

In the meantime, a European expert on China-EU cooperation that greater collaboration between China and Germany will be a boon to both countries, the Europerter reported.

In an interview with Xinhua, Luigi Gambardella, president of ChinaEU, a Brussels-based business-led association, said that he expects China to import eight trillion euros worth of goods and attract 600 billion euros of foreign investments.

Gambardella also anticipates China to pour in around 750 billion euros in outbound investments, and Chinese tourists to make 700 million overseas visits to the EU.

With these developments, concerned officials must ensure that the China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty receives the support that it deserves to ensure its success in the coming years. 

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