12 February 2015
The United States on Wednesday launched a legal challenge to Chinese subsidies supporting billions of dollars of exports across a wide swathe of industries from steel to shrimp. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Chinese companies in designated export hubs benefited from free or subsidized services, cash grants and other incentives which gave their products an unfair advantage. The request for consultations, lodged on Wednesday, is the first step in a World Trade Organization dispute. The administration has also been trying to convince lawmakers, in particular Democrats, to support a new 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade deal and a bill to streamline Congressional passage of trade deals... Chin Leng Lim, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, said Washington's case fitted a rising trend of using anti-subsidy action as the new trade weapon of choice. As China prepares to get market economy status in 2016 under its WTO accession agreement, it will be harder to bring anti-dumping cases against Chinese companies. "When the allegation is unfair subsidization, you've got to remember that you're not just going after companies abroad for behaving unfairly. You're going after an entire foreign economy for being run differently," Lim said. Click here to read the full article.