Commentary: Protectionism a thorn in ever closer Europe-China relations

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-30 17:29:16|Editor: Hou Qiang
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by Xinhua writer Deng Xianlai

BEIJING, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Unremitting efforts by European and Chinese leaders in recent years have kindled an intimacy not only beneficial to the two sides, but also blissful for the world amid all the development woes.

However, certain outdated mentalities in the European Union are hindering this positive development.

The EU earlier this month agreed on new anti-dumping rules based on so-called market distortions. The new concept in essence is no different from the previous invention of a "surrogate country," a third country that the EU used as reference in anti-dumping investigations against China exports.

According to Article 15 of the Accession Protocol signed by China when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, domestic prices in China should be used as reference in anti-dumping investigations 15 years after China's accession.

This means that the third-country parameter has lost its legal basis since Dec. 11, 2016 and should, as China has repeatedly demanded, be abandoned.

The new EU method shows a stubborn insistence on imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese products -- this time with a self-devised excuse of "correcting significant market distortions."

EU lawmakers have turned a blind eye to China's longtime economic reforms at home to ensure that the market plays a decisive role in allocating resources.

Internationally, China has been championing globalization and defending free trade when the world's major economies are turning inward and favoring protectionism, as is most noticeably illustrated by U.S. President Donald Trump's "Buy American and hire American" policy.

As rifts within the transatlantic alliance has widened after Trump's first foreign tour as U.S. president, German Chancellor Angela Merkel cautioned that Europe can no longer fully count on this traditional ally and must take its fate into its own hands.

In this context, as both advocate free trade and responsible behavior in world affairs, Europe and China will see their common ground expanding.

Stronger partnership between China and Europe is good for both, and they should not be distracted from the great cause of China-EU cooperation.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is going to Europe for a ninth visit since he took office as premier in 2013. Such frequency testifies to the common ground and interests between the two sides.

Europe should reciprocate by giving up old mentalities and work for better Europe-China ties and for a better world.

KEY WORDS: Europe-China relations