Experts say latest moves focus on new energy, high-tech, and predict food safety to feature soon
Experts expect the United States to remain tough on trade with China this year, and to continue launching trade investigations into Chinese imports, most likely using the excuse of security concerns or intellectual property protection.
Reacting to this week's announcement that the US may soon impose punitive duties on the import of stainless steel sinks from China, Zhou Shijian, a senior trade expert at Tsinghua University, said trade friction with the US "will remain frequent" this year, as "the country's economy is still not performing very well, despite quantitative easing measures".
"Rising probes into Chinese new energy and high-tech sectors are the latest developments aimed at securing the US a leading position in global industrial competition," he added.
"In addition to launching more anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, the US will intensify its investigations into Chinese exports to protect its core interests of IPR.
"Food safety will also become an emerging area for trade friction as the country uses more technical barriers to trade such as strictly limiting the pesticide residue in tea from China or the lead content in China-made century eggs," Zhou said.
Zhuang Rui, deputy dean of the Institute of International Economy at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, added that trade friction will "surely" increase in 2013 owing to different trade structures between the two economies.
"The upgrade and transformation of China's manufacturing sector will pose challenges to the US initiative of reindustrialization, especially in high-tech and emerging sectors," Zhuang said.
On Wednesday, the US Department of Commerce announced its affirmative final determination in duty investigations against Chinese drawn stainless steel sinks, a move which increases the possibility of imposing punitive duties on the products.
The US claimed that Chinese producers and exporters sold sinks in the US market at dumping margins ranging from 27.14 percent to 76.53 percent.
It also alleged that Chinese producers and exporters received subsidies of 4.8 percent to 12.26 percent.
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