The European Union will from this week raise tariffs on Chinese exports of high-end glossy paper used for magazines and catalogues, opening another chapter in efforts to stem a growing tide of goods from the Asian nation.
The case marks the first time the EU has penalised China for using what it says are illegal state subsidies to boost its industries. Until now the bloc has relied on the more widely used penalties for dumping, in which a company exports its goods below cost.
The decision to target Beijing’s subsidies reflects a worry among European businesses and policymakers that China’s exports – once confined to industries such as shoes and bicycles – are rapidly climbing the value chain to threaten the continent’s high-end manufacturers.
造成这一政策转变的，是在2010年出任欧盟贸易专员的卡洛•德古赫特(Karel de Gucht)。他的前任，尤其是曼德尔森勋爵(Lord Mandelson)，曾给予中国更多让步，期望对方能够回报，但德古赫特这位比利时前外长承诺采取更强硬的做法。
The man responsible for the shift is Karel De Gucht, who took over as Europe’s trade commissioner in 2010. Whereas his predecessors, particularly Lord Mandelson, granted more concessions to China in hopes it would reciprocate, Mr De Gucht, a former Belgian foreign minister, has promised a firmer approach.
His aides argue that subsidy cases are vital because they help shine a light on unfair advantages, including government grants of cheap land and financing, that they believe are central to China’s exporting prowess.
“For the Chinese, this is much more worrying than an anti-dumping case because now we are going to the heart of their system,” said one EU official, who likened the subsidy case to “launching a torpedo against the mother ship”.
Song Zhe, China’s ambassador to the EU, disputed that. “Chinese products are on the market in Europe because of their merits alone,” he said. “I don’t think the success is due to low-cost dumping or subsidies.”
In spite of the ambassador’s measured words, analysts and trade lawyers are worried that Beijing is planning a more aggressive response. China has already opened an investigation into possible subsidies for German potato starch.
Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, co-director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, a Brussels think-tank, believes more such cases will be forthcoming. “A new trade war is looming,” he wrote in a recent article about the paper case, predicting disastrous consequences for both sides.
Mr Lee-Makiyama also questioned the wisdom of the commissioner’s approach, given Europe’s own tradition of subsidising agriculture and other industries. But others argue that the extent of China’s subsidies demands action.
“中国正向增值链上方移动。当你看到补贴对那些产品的影响时，就会真的开始明白一切，”布鲁塞尔Crowell & Moring律师事务所贸易律师劳伦特•吕斯曼(Laurent Ruessmann)表示。“德古赫特正在做的，是设法加强欧盟的贸易政策，并使其现代化。”
“China is moving up the value-added chain. When you see the effect of subsidies on those products, it really starts to hit home,” said Laurent Ruessmann, a trade lawyer at Crowell & Moring in Brussels. “What De Gucht is doing is looking for ways to modernise and strengthen EU trade policy.”
The paper case has its shortcomings, say observers. Chinese competitors accounted for less than 5 per cent of the EU market, a relatively small margin.
However, officials at the European Commission argue that China’s market share is fast growing. More broadly, they say it is not easy to bring subsidy cases because European companies are reluctant to complain publicly about China for fear of retribution.
“它们到这里来，给成员国乃至企业都带来了压力——甚至是与本案不相干的企业，”欧洲最大的雇主团体——商业欧洲(BusinessEurope)的贸易专家阿德里安•范•登霍文(Adrian van den Hoven)表示。
“They come over and they put pressure not just on member states, but businesses – even businesses that have nothing to do with the case,” said Adrian van den Hoven, a trade specialist at BusinessEurope, the continent’s largest employers’ group.
In an effort to blunt China’s lobbying influence, the EU is poised to change the way it decides trade cases. Until now, member states have had the final say over a Commission recommendation to impose duties. But from next year the Commission proposal will go through unless there is a broad majority opposed. The effect, say trade analysts, is that member states should be able to point the finger at Commission bureaucrats when Chinese officials voice displeasure.
There is speculation in Brussels that Mr De Gucht may be pushing for an even bigger change: the authority to launch anti-subsidy investigations without formal complaints.
A spokesman denied that, but referred to an October interview in which the commissioner said of the paper case: “I expect it will become a trend.”
2011-05-16 11:56 编辑：典典
The US Congress moved closer to punishing China for allegedly manipulating its currency, as a key committee of the House of Representatives voted to advance legislation that could