Beijing says EU's proposed reforms against Chinese exports disappointing

A paramilitary policeman stands guard at the entrance to the European Union embassy in central Beijing, China December 13, 2011. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is disappointed that the European Union hasn’t completely recognized its market economy status, commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said on Thursday in a sign that Beijing will continue to press the EU to relax its anti-dumping rules.

The EU and many of China’s other trading partners have been debating whether to grant China “market economy status” (MES) from mid-December, which Beijing says is its right 15 years after it joined the World Trade Organization. The United States has said China has not done enough to qualify.

The European Commission proposed on Wednesday a new way to assess whether Chinese manufacturers are exporting products, such as steel, at unfairly low prices.

China said it interpreted the proposal as cancelling China’s “non-market economy status” but was disappointed the European Commission had introduced the “significant distortions” clause, Shen told a regular press briefing.

The proposal in general sets the normal reference value in dumping cases involving WTO members to domestic prices.

However, in the event of “significant distortions” affecting domestic prices, investigators can instead use international benchmark prices, the EU proposed.

The proposal “doesn’t completely nullify (China’s) ‘surrogate country’ status, it merely allows the status quo to covertly continue,” Shen said.

The new standard should be “fair, reasonable, transparent and should not just be a new form of discrimination,” he added.

EU trade ministers are expected to discuss the new anti-dumping measures at a meeting on Friday along with other plans to modernize the EU’s trade defense arsenal.

Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam