Trade surplus surges
China's trade surplus continued to expand in March, nearly doubling year-on-year to US$11.19 billion. Exports increased 28% to US$78.05 billion, while imports rose 21% to US$66.86 billion. The country's trade surplus for the first quarter was US$23.31 billion, up 41% on 2005.
Taiwan tariffs towels
Taiwan proposed higher tariffs on certain towel products from China, the first time it has moved to protect its markets from the mainland since the two sides joined the WTO. Launching an official anti-dumping investigation, Taiwan claimed local market share has halved from 16% to 8% with Chinese producers grabbing 69% since it opened its market to China's towels in February 2002. Local industry is calling for tariffs to be raised from 4.5% to 189% for three years or import quotas be imposed.
Shoemakers oppose tariffs
Chinese shoemakers continued to file objections after the EU's anti-dumping tariffs against China-made leather shoes took effect. The EU decided to phase in anti-dumping duties on shoes from China over the next six months, beginning at 4% and rising to 19.4%. More than 150 shoemakers have formed an alliance to appeal the duty. They claim the WTO's anti-dumping protocol requires any anti-dumping prosecution to prove 15 injury indicators, but the EU sanctions were based on only six.
Steel duty maintained
Anti-dumping measures against stainless, hot-rolled steel sheets imported from Japan and the South Korea will remain in place for another five years. A Ministry of Commerce investigation concluded dumping may continue if the anti-dumping measures, which were introduced in December 2000, were terminated, causing damage to the domestic sector.
Cotton imports hit growers
Experts warned China's dependence on cotton imports has hurt domestic cotton growers, which have lost out on US$2.25 billion in revenues over the past four years. During this time 4 million tons of cotton has been imported, including 2.57 million tons in 2005 alone. Cotton imports are expected to increase as China continues to open its markets.