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Cheap goods from China and India in anti-dumping review

  • December 9th, 2006
  • Posted by 7thmin

eu-mandelson.jpgThe flood of cheap imported consumer items in European stores has led to an inquiry to see whether some of those low prices have broken international fair-trade rules.

A three-months stakeholders consultation has been launched by the European Commission, to work up a trade defence strategy, and stop offenders against the rules getting into the market.

The External Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, told a media conference at Brussels the European Union was prepared to invoke anti-dumping measures against countries importing outside of established trade practices.

However, while dumping would be a significant factor in the trade in cheap goods, it should not be exaggerated.

“Trade defence is not to be used improperly against what might be low cost competition that is otherwise legitimate and fair competition,” he said.

European authorities would have to consider the respective interests of manufacturers and retailers, and their employees.

Cheap goods from China and India were mentioned as a leading concern.

Mr Mandelson was asked about prospects for resumption of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Doha Round negotiations, suspended last July; especially considering that the Democratic Party, reluctant in many free trade issues, had won a majority in the United States Congress.

The Commissioner, who has called for the negotiations to start again, where they left off, said it was a “Sword of Damocles” hanging over the process, that the American administration’s negotiating authority would expire in June – when it would have to go back to Congress for further authorisation.

NEW DEALS WITH ASIAN PARTNERS

The EU is also preparing to start negotiations for a new generation of bi-lateral trade agreements with India, South Korea and the ASEAN countries in South-east Asia.

It announced this week, 6.12.06, that the three “key partners” combined rapid economic growth, a high degree of market potential, and high levels of protection against European exports.

It said the new approach would be consistent with commitments to multi-lateral agreements under the WTO, and would aim at far reaching trade liberalisation, including liberalisation of services and investment.

Negotiations should start early in 2007.

Reference:

Peter Mandelson, EU Trade Commissioner, “The Future of EU Trade Relations”, EU Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, SPEECH/06/309

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