What have been achieved in APEC for China

On September 9, Chen Deming, China’s Minister of Commerce who was, accompanying the state leaders, attending the 20th Informal Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meetings in Vladivostok, Russia was jointly interviewed by reporters from CCTV, Xinhua News Agency, Phoenix TV and HKSTV. In the interview, he answered questions concerning the results of the Meetings on economic and trade issues, signing of Sino-Canada investment protection agreement, stabilization of foreign trade growth and response to the case-filing of anti-dumping against China’s photovoltaic products by the EU, the summary of which is as follows:
APEC List of Environmental Goods to Bring Opportunities for China’s Foreign Trade Development
A total of four economic and trade issues were discussed in the 20th Informal APEC Economic Leaders’ Meetings, said Chen Deming, namely, liberalization and list of environmental goods; the multilateral trading system and advancing of Doha Round negotiations, and opposition to trade protectionism; trade and investment liberalization and regional economic integration; and establishment of a reliable supply chain, especially capacity building of the small and medium-sized logistics enterprises.
Mr. Chen said, the Meetings focused on discussing the issue on liberalization of environmental goods and adopted the APEC list of environmental goods. Last year, an important agreement on the liberalization of environmental goods was reached in the Informal APEC Leaders’ Economic Meetings held in Honolulu that each APEC member shall cut its tariff of environmental goods included in the list to 5% or below by 2015. Since this year, members of APEC have carried out a great amount of work concerning preparation of the APEC list of environmental goods. Through prolonged consultations and negotiations, the Meetings finally adopted an APEC list of environmental goods containing 54 products, which was not easy. These environmental goods are mainly low-energy and low-carbon green products. Developed and developing countries have not exactly the same understanding of this matter because they are currently in different stages of development. For example, developing countries think that bamboo products should be included in the list of environmental goods, but western countries may believe that modern turbine generators should be a part of the list. Thus, the list is finalized through negotiation.
During this process, China also made its own list of environmental goods which was recognized by most countries. China has taken such matters as the development stage of China, interests of developing countries, how environmental goods can be utilized by developing countries, prevention of green barriers and other problems into special consideration. 54% of the listed products adopted in the Informal APEC Economic Leaders’ Meetings were proposed by China, for which China is relatively competitive. Also, some of the products were those desired by western countries because they have competitive edges. For the products included in the list, tariffs of some products imposed by China have been 5% or below, while those of some products still need to be further cut. On the part of China, under such a relatively rigorous situation for foreign trade, the list of environmental goods will bring new opportunities for the development of domestic enterprises. In the meantime, Chinese enterprises should develop more environmental goods, and accelerate the adjustment of structure and transformation of development pattern so as to continually expand their international market shares at low tariffs.
Sino-Canada Investment Protection Agreement Contributes to the Deepening of Economic and Trade Cooperation
The Agreement Between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Canada for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments which was officially signed by China and Canada on that day was finally reached after 18 years of negotiations (including 22 rounds of talks and numerous telephone consultations), said Chen Deming. With a total number of 35 articles and 6 additional clauses, the Agreement includes all the important contents usually contained in an international investment agreement, as well as some new special contents. For example, prudent finance exceptions, according to the Agreement, the determination of which shall be up to the ad hoc arbitration between both Contracting Parties.
As at July this year, the cumulative actual investment of Canadian enterprises in China has exceeded $8 billion, and the non-financial direct investment of Chinese enterprises in Canada has also exceeded $6 billion. Since economies of China and Canada are highly complementary to each other, the investment protection agreement will provide legal guarantee for two-way investments, which is of great significance to further promote two-way investments between Chinese and Canadian enterprises, deepen Sino-Canada economic and trade cooperation and accelerate the building of Sino-Canada strategic partnership.
Active Measures to be Taken to Stabilize Foreign Trade Growth
Regarding how to stabilize foreign trade growth, Mr. Chen said, the impact of world economic downturn pressure on China’s foreign trade has become more and more obvious, which made China’s foreign trade face a serious situation. China will, in compliance with WTO rules, further formulate and implement policy measures to encourage imports and exports. Premier Wen Jiabao put forward a series of policies and measures in August this year during his investigation in Guangdong, and the State Council will further study policies to stabilize foreign trade growth in the near future. For instance, China should reduce various charges and clear unreasonable and unnecessary fees in order to lighten enterprises’ burdens. In addition, imports should be expanded to achieve a balance between imports and exports, and emphasis should be placed on increasing imports of advanced technical equipment and living goods closely related to the people.
Photovoltaic Cell Case: China Will Go All out to Safeguard the Interests of Chinese Enterprises
With respect to how to treat and respond to the investigation into the anti-dumping case against China’s photovoltaic cell by the EU, Chen Deming said, photovoltaic products are globally recognized green low-carbon products. It was the U.S. that first carried out anti-dumping and anti-subsidy (“double antis”) against China’s photovoltaic products, and its anti-dumping rate was astonishing. Several key EU officials said that, the anti-dumping rate adopted by the U.S. was incredibly high. And then, the EU carried out an investigation into the anti-dumping case against photovoltaic products exported from China, about which the Ministry of Commerce of China was highly concerned. The Ministry of Commerce will soon send a vice-ministerial delegation to Germany, France and the EU for negotiation. According to WTO rules, APEC principles and the spirits explicitly and repeatedly put forward by G20 leaders that no new measures for trade protectionism should be taken in the international financial crisis, the EU shall not make such a move. Aimed at an environmental product, the measure is also a new one for trade protectionism. Thus, China will negotiate with the EU to fully protect the interests of Chinese enterprises. Meanwhile, China will also boost domestic demands for solar products, and formulate policies to adjust industries with excess production capacity.
In fact, the EU has supplied China with a plenty of raw materials and equipment for producing photovoltaic products, thus, there is an interdependent and mutual beneficial cooperation relationship between the photovoltaic industries of China and Europe. China hopes to reach a win-win solution to this problem through negotiation with the EU. After case-filing by the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her opinions through her economic counselor to China that, the commitment to solve problems through negotiation made by her during her visit to China will remain unchanged, which is also a basis for the negotiation between China and the EU. The EU should be aware that negotiation is win-win in the face of the current economic crisis. If restrictive measures were taken unilaterally without negotiation, damages would be caused to both parties. Therefore, China requires the EU to consider this matter rationally without running counter to the joint commitment made by various countries in G20 and other occasions.
Source: Ministry of Commerce Website; http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/aarticle/newsrelease/significantnews/201209/20120908339826.html


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