Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Minister Chen on Protectionism in the WSJ

Need a Real Sponsor here

Protectionism Doesn't Pay

China calls on the world's governments to learn from history.

The global financial crisis is no doubt a catalyst for trade protectionism. As the world economy deteriorates, some countries try to boost growth prospects by erecting trade barriers. China calls on these governments not to replay history and revert to protectionism and economic isolationism.

Previous global economic crises were accompanied by frequent trade disputes. The U.S. passage of large-scale tariffs in 1930, for example, triggered a retaliatory global trade war. During the two oil shocks in the 1970s and 1980s, trade frictions emerged when major economies attempted to increase exports by depreciating their currencies. And in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, there was a notable uptick in antidumping actions, countervailing duties and other protectionist measures.

The financial crisis is now spilling over into the real economy, hitting sectors like manufacturing and services. In almost all countries, factories are closing and unemployment is rising, creating political pressure and social problems. More and more governments are strengthening intervention in their economies under the excuse of "economic security," and protecting vulnerable domestic industries by curbing imports from other countries.

Trade protectionism differs from legally acceptable measures to protect trade. It is an abuse of remedies provided by multilateral trade rules. This kind of protectionism is morphing into more complex and disguised forms, ranging from conventional tariff and nontariff barriers to technical barriers to trade, industry standards and industry protectionism.

With the economic crisis worsening, caution must be taken even in employing trade protection measures consistent with World Trade Organization rules. At the G-20 Financial Summit in November 2008, world leaders called for countries to resist trade protectionism and committed themselves to refraining from new barriers to trade and investment, a message strongly echoed by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit at the end of last year and the World Economic Forum held in Davos last month.

History tells us that trade protection measures hurt not only other countries, but eventually the country that erected them in the first place. To counter the Great Depression, the U.S. adopted the Smoot-Hawley Act in 1930, which raised import duties of over 20,000 foreign products significantly and provoked protectionist retaliation from other countries. Faced with that crisis, other countries pursued beggar-thy-neighbor policies that slashed global trade volume from $36 billion in 1929 to $12 billion in 1932. Among the victims, not the least was the U.S. itself, where exports shrank from $5.2 billion in 1929 to $1.2 billion in 1932. Even in the U.S., the Smoot-Hawley Act was widely believed to be a catalyst that aggravated the effects of the Great Depression.

Global trade is now in dire straits. Thanks to shrinking external demand caused by the economic crisis, major trading countries have seen their export growth tumble or have suffered huge contractions. Germany's exports dropped 10.6% in November 2008, compared to the same period the prior year -- the highest one-month drop since 1990. China also experienced negative export growth in November, and a 17.5% decline last month, when compared to the prior year. Protectionist policies would make things even worse, and the consequences would be hard to predict.

In the heat of the crisis, it's critical that all countries refrain from pointing fingers at each other or pursuing their own interests at the expense of others. The financial crisis reflects a chronic illness resulting from global economic structural imbalance and financial risk accumulation, and there is no quick fix to this malady. The fundamental interest of every country is to step up consultation and cooperation and keep international trade smoothly flowing. Healthy international trade can help revive the world economy. During the Great Depression, the U.S. recovered from its economic woes because the Roosevelt administration implemented the New Deal and shunned protectionism.

Today's unprecedented financial crisis has inflicted a severe impact on China and other countries. China's economic growth has slowed, exports have plunged, and unemployment pressure has mounted. Yet even so, China still firmly believes that trade protectionism isn't a solution to the world's problems. In 2008, amid a contraction in global trade, China imported $1.133 trillion worth of goods from countries around the world -- an 18.5% increase over the prior year. These imports are boosting the economic development of China's trading partners. Since the crisis broke out, the Chinese government has put forward a series of measures aiming at stimulating domestic demand. Given the size and openness of our country, the growth in China's domestic markets can be translated into greater market potential and investment opportunities for other countries. This year China will continue to increase imports and send buying missions abroad for large-scale purchase of equipment, products and technology.

China has always championed our mutually beneficial opening-up policy and advocated international economic cooperation. We maintain that the Doha Round of global trade negotiations should be taken forward in a way that meets the interests of members and complies with the multilateral trading system already established. China is ready to stand together with all nations in the world to face up to the challenges of today, tackle the financial crisis through cooperation, and guide the world economy into a new period of prosperity.

Mr. Chen is minister of commerce for the People's Republic of China.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Sino-Philippines dispute (not trade-related)

I know that China has not recognized the jurisdiction of the ICJ and the Philippines, while recognizing the jurisdiction of the Court in general, has excluded the jurisdiction on territorial disputes. However, it is probably still worth exploring the possibility of having the ICJ sort out the dispute, just like Singapore and Malaysia in the recent Pedra Branca case.

Solemn declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China concerning the Philippine Senate Bill 2699 and House Bill 3216

No. 001 February 6, 2009

The Philippine Senate and House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 2699 on January 28 and House Bill 3216 on February 2 respectively, incorporating Huangyan Dao(or the Scarborough Shoal for the Philippines), in Macclesfield Bank, and part of the Spratly Islands into Philippine territory. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China solemnly declares as follows:
1.In terms of either history, geography, reality or international law, the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Macclesfield Islands, Pratas Islands, as well as the surrounding waters, are the existent territories of the Republic of China. The fact that sovereignty of these areas belongs to our government is undeniable, Taiwan enjoys and deserves all rights accordingly. Any sovereignty claims over, or occupation of, these islands and their surrounding waters will not be recognized by the government of the Republic of China.
2.The Government of the Republic of China calls on the Philippine government to abide by the principles and spirit of the UN Charter, UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in order to peacefully solve through dialogue any dispute involving the issue of the South China Sea.(E)

Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China


On 17 February 2009, the Philippine Congress passed an Act to Define the Archipelagic Baselines of the Philippines (an Act to Amend Certain Provisions of Republic Act No. 3046, As Amended By Republic Act No. 5446, to Define the Archipelagic Baselines of the Philippines, and For Other Purposes). The Act includes Huangyan Island and some islands and reefs of Nansha Islands as Philippine territory. The Government of the People's Republic of China hereby reiterates that Huangyan Island and Nansha Islands have always been a part of China's territory. The People's Republic of China has indisputable sovereignty over these islands and their adjacent waters. Claims to territory sovereignty over Huangyan Island and Nansha Islands by any other country are all illegal and invalid.

China Lodges Stern Protest over Baselines Bill of the Philippines


On the afternoon of February 18, 2009, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya summoned the Charge d'affaires of the Philippine embassy to China, Maria Barber, to lodge a stern protest over the approval of the 2009 Baselines Bill by the Philippine congress.

"The congress of the Philippines passed the Baselines Bill yesterday, which usurped China's Huangyan Island and some islands of Nansha Islands as Philippine territory," said Wang. "The Chinese government expresses its strong dissatisfaction and stern protest over the adoption of the bill that violated China's sovereignty by the Philippine government, in defiance of the grave concern raised by and repeated protests from the Chinese government," said Wang.

"Huangyan Island and Nansha Islands have always been inalienable parts of the Chinese territory," said Wang, adding that China possesses indisputable sovereignty over the Huangyan Island, the Nansha Islands and adjacent waters. "Territorial sovereignty claims over the Huangyan Island and islands of Nansha Islands by any other country were illegal and invalid," he said.

It is the wish of the Chinese side that the Philippines will take into consideration the bilateral relations, the interests of both peoples and the peace and stability of the South China Sea region, take solid and sufficient measures to stop all the activities that violate China's sovereignty rights, take concrete actions to safeguard the stability of the South China Sea region and ensure the healthy development of bilateral relations, Wang said.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

MOFCOM on neo-protectionism

It seems that MOFCOM will bring more cases in the WTO. This again proved that bad times can be good times for lawyers.

2009-02-16 20:59  文章来源:商务部新闻办公室
文章类型:原创  内容分类:新闻





  商务部高度重视应对贸易摩擦,主张通过磋商来解决问题,切实维护中国企业的利益。我们密切跟踪贸易保护措施的最新动向,采取有效措施积极应对。这些工作主要包括五个方面:一是要强化对广大企业的服务,支持中国企业运用法律手段积极应诉;二是鼓励商协会与国外业界进行沟通和交流;三是进一步完善贸易摩擦预警监控机制,让企业能在第一时间了解贸易摩擦动向;四是加强政府间的双边对话和沟通。目前商务部已经与美国、欧盟、南非、韩国、澳大利亚等 11个国家和地区建立双边贸易救济合作机制,积极开展对话与磋商;五是充分利用世贸组织争端解决机制维护国家利益等。




Why do you need to know something about international law and international orgnizations

The latest reason: to fend off the scam artists. In addition to the
numerous spelling and grammatical errors, the following scam has
another tell-tale sign: the UNDP was not created until in 1965. Indeed
anyone with some knowledge about the history of the UN should tell
this: as any other specialized agencies of the UN, the earliest date
the UNDP could have been established would be 1945, when the UN itself
came into existence. Now a trivia question: Is the WTO also an UN
specialized agency?

I won't be surprised that pretty soon I will receive another email
telling me that I have won something from the "Technical Assistance
Fund that was created in 1935 by the WTO, the IMF and World Bank". Now
Mr. Scam Artist, don't forget to send me my cut of the cash (no check
please) if you ever decide to adopt that idea.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lanyon, Richard <>
Date: Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 11:45 AM

Corporate Headquarters,91 Station Road,
West Drayton United Kingdom.

The UNITED NATION DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM would like to notify you that
you have been chosen by the board of DEVELOPMENT BOARD as the full
recipient of a cash Grant/Donation for your own personal,
educational,Working and business development TO receive the sum of

The UNITED NATION DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM, established 1877 by the
Multi-Million groups and now supported by the FBI,Economic Community
for West African State(ECOWAS)and the European Union (EU). Based on
the random selection exercise of internet websites and millions of
supermarket cash invoices worldwide, you were selected among the
recipients to receive the award sum of 1,000,000.00 GBP (One Million
British pounds starlings) as charity donations/aid from the UNITED
the enabling act of Parliament, All beneficiaries email addresses were
selected randomly from over 100,000 internet websites around the

You are required to contact our company representative whom will be in
charge of your claim with the below information:

Send all the requested claim information to your allocated claim officer:

Mr. Dan Cole
Tell Number: +447035901229
Claims Processing Agent,
Verifications/Logistic Department.

NOTE: you will be given your secret code number,which you will use in
collecting your ONE MILLION POUNDS, endeavor to quote your
Qualification numbers (NG-022-607AB) in all discussions. All
information is strictly confidential and will only be used for the
purpose to which it is been requested

On behalf of the Board kindly,accept our warmest congratulations.

Warm Regards.
Lanyonr Miccaglla
(Online Announcer UNDP).

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Special Textile Safeguard Expired

While the Special Textile Safeguard against China has expired as of
Dec 31st 2008, China may still be subject to the Transitional
Product-Specific Safeguard Mechanism, which will only expire in late

2009-01-23 09:01 文章来源:商务部新闻办公室
文章类型:原创 内容分类:其它























“Buy China”, the Chinese Wal-Mart and Cut Throat Price Wars

Vice Minister Jiang Zengwei of China's MOFCOM made some interesting remarks at a press conference yesterday:

First, will China adopt a "Buy China" policy following the example of the "Buy America" provision in the US stimulus package? No.

Second, China should try to build some giant national retailers following the model of Wal-Mart.

Third, there should be no "inappropriate promotional tactics" that might push SMEs out of business.

In summary, the future might look like this: there will be some big home-grown retailers (a good name would be Wo-Mai, which means "I sell" in Chinese. If anyone decides to adopt this name in the future, please don't forget to pay me royalties), and they will buy products from all over the world. While they could engage in price wars that cut the throats of foreigners wide open in other countries, no such tactics could be employed in China (as this would obviously be against the national policy to "build a harmonious society").

Interested readers can get more details from the Chinese and English news stories below.

2009-02-10 10:02  文章来源:《 人民日报 》( 2009年2月10日 08 版)
文章类型:原创  内容分类:新闻




  关于发放消费券问题,姜增伟说,在特殊条件下采取特殊办法,是一个较可行的选择。成都、杭州发放了一些消费券,对拉动消费起到了推进作用。作为尝试或一种临时办法,增加低收入人群收入应作为扩大消费的主要举措,同时也要保证建立覆盖面宽的社保体系。在地方发放消费券的同时,今年初我国为 7400万低收入者发放了一次性补贴,每人100―150元。中国政府两大举措将对消费发挥积极作用,一是医改,一是教改,如果这两项重要措施出台,对中国的市场消费特别是农村消费将产生显效。


  对于美国的"购买美国货"一事,姜增伟表示,在经济全球化的前提下,一个国家满足自己的市场,仅仅限于本国的生产是做不到的。中国商品市场 80%以上还主要基于国内生产,但相当一部分商品是需要从国际市场补充或购买的。包括工业原料品、奢侈品、农产品,我们一年要从美国、加拿大、澳大利亚进口小麦、大豆,来弥补国内缺口。每个国家必须要大力发展国际贸易,实现商品大流通,才能发挥各自国家经济的特点,才能满足消费者需求。国家的商品竞争力表现在质量和价格。中国不会实行"购买中国货"政策,只要有需求,不管是国内的商品、国外的商品,我们都一视同仁。


  商务部提出培育若干家大型流通企业集团,有人担心这会形成行业垄断、抑制市场竞争。对此,姜增伟回应,这是流通企业在市场经济条件下的再构。中国流通企业99%以上是中小企业,这些中小企业占全国中小企业70%。商贸流通企业现有职工8000万,规模小、经营集中度低、效率不高,竞争力无从谈起,不能较好满足社会化大生产或以需求为主导的消费增长方式需要。企业需要规模效应,需要在此基础上增强抗风险能力和竞争力。世界零售巨头沃尔玛2008 年销售额达到3787亿美元,折合人民币2.5万亿,占我国社会消费品零售总额的23.9%。中国目前最大的家电连锁企业是国美,2008年销售额是 1023亿元。我们跟全球大百货企业、大零售企业的差距不是一两年能赶上的,任重而道远。中国必须要有类似于沃尔玛这样的企业,一旦发生自然灾害和突发事件,可将企业自身的商品周转和储备结合起来,迅速做出市场反应。同时,大企业承担社会责任的意识更强。我国流通企业做强做大,主要靠企业通过市场竞争实现,必须坚持市场化取向,政府的支持,主要体现在解决企业发展中的一些政策障碍,比如消除地区封锁,推动流通企业跨区域兼并重组,为企业创造良好竞争环境等方面。





  对于"万村千乡市场工程",姜增伟说,一个"农家店"目前安排就业是3.1至3.2人,今年商务部要在已建立26万家的基础上再建15万家" 农家店",在一定程度上有利于增加农民工就业岗位,这还不包括配送中心及其他服务网络,比如农资配套、邮政服务配套等。按计划,到2010年底将建成51 万家"农家店",就目前看,今、明年"农家店"将提供约77.5万个岗位。"万村千乡"受到了农民欢迎,方便了农民消费,尤其是确保了商品质量安全,成为我国农村商品流通体系不可替代的部分。





Strait Times
Beijing won't have 'Buy China' clause
By Sim Chi Yin, China Correspondent
Feb 10, 2009

BEIJING: - China will not impose a protectionist 'Buy China' clause in its economic stimulus package, a top Chinese official said yesterday, urging all countries to encourage international trade in the current crunch.

Without mentioning the 'Buy America' provision in the United States' stimulus package, Vice- Commerce Minister Jiang Zengwei said China would be even-handed towards foreign and domestic products - implying that Beijing's own four trillion yuan (S$873 billion) programme to pump-prime its economy will not discriminate against foreign businesses as some had feared.

Global demand for China's exports, which provide almost 40 per cent of its gross domestic product, has already collapsed in recent months and would take a further hit if international trade barriers go up.
Answering a question at a press conference, he said: 'We just need to boost consumption, whether it's through domestically made goods or foreign-made goods. Why should one be protectionist under the current circumstances?

'As long as there's demand, we'll treat domestic and foreign products the same way.'

In the US, some lawmakers want to include a 'Buy American' provision in the US$827 billion (S$1.24 trillion) stimulus package before Congress, to support homegrown companies and workers. The Senate last week voted to soften - but not junk - that clause, after President Barack Obama cautioned that the original wording could spark a trade war.

The US has reciprocal obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organisation to provide trading partners such as Canada, Mexico, Japan and the European Union with access to its government procurement market.

But other countries, including China and India, are not party to those pacts and thus will not be spared.

China's Commerce Ministry yesterday said it was 'seriously concerned' at Indian barriers to its exports. India imposed a six-month ban on imports of Chinese toys last month.

Global demand for China's exports, which provide almost 40 per cent of its gross domestic product, has already collapsed in recent months and would take a further hit if international trade barriers go up.

As Mr Jiang made plain: 'Even in the age of globalisation, no one country can satisfy its own markets from its own production.'

China makes 80 per cent of the goods sold domestically, he noted, but it still needs to import products ranging from raw materials to agricultural goods and luxury items.

Beijing unveiled its massive stimulus plan in November last year to spur domestic demand and drive growth, homing in on investments in transport infrastructure, the power grid and post-earthquake reconstruction, as well as rural development.

Some foreign companies had been worried that Beijing might give local businesses preferential treatment. Mr Jiang's comments yesterday would go some way to assuaging those fears.

On its part, Beijing is keeping its eye on pumping up domestic consumption to help the Chinese economy recover from a sharper- than-expected dip as it feels the full weight of the global financial meltdown.

Despite concerns that mass unemployment among migrant workers and the current drought - the worst in decades - would dampen the spending power of the 750 million rural Chinese, things are looking up, said Mr Jiang.

He noted that retail sales went up 13.8 per cent during the 'golden week' Chinese New Year holiday, exceeding forecast.

He also put his stamp of approval on a scheme by municipal governments to hand out vouchers for residents to buy consumer goods - but did not commit to implementing it nationwide.

While Beijing reportedly stepped in to halt some local governments' measures to jump- start the slumped property market, Mr Jiang termed the voucher scheme 'practical', saying that 'special circumstances call for special measures'.

No data has been collated, but the governments of the eastern city of Hangzhou and south-western Chengdu saw retail sales go up after giving out coupons worth 100 yuan to 200 yuan for low-income families to use in local stores and supermarkets over the Chinese New Year break, the official Xinhua news agency reported.