EU business lobby fears losses as China promises to import more from US
UNTV News • January 16, 2020 • 624
Beijing – A European business lobby in China on Thursday said Beijing’s promise to buy $200-billion worth of products from the United States in two years as part of the first phase of a bilateral trade agreement could result in a drop in imports from Europe.
“Will our exports to China be possibly hurt? Possibly yes,” European Union Chamber of Commerce President Joerg Wuttke told reporters.
He warned that Chinese commitments could mean that it stops purchasing European products in the relevant sectors to substitute them with US imports.
In the agreement signed in Washington on Wednesday, China has pledged to boost its imports of US goods and services by $200 billion over the next two years.
This includes $32 billion in additional agricultural purchases, $52 billion in energy products and $78 billion in additional manufactured goods.
In 2018, the US had exported products worth $120 billion to China.
“The US always stood for competition and openness and it’s very interesting to see only that China gets told now what to buy, where to buy (…) All of a sudden, the lead of the free world is turning into a system that resembles the Chinese system. It’s ironic,” Wuttke said.
Although the EU trade representative welcomed the deal as a “good news” that meant the end of the “negative spiral” caused by the tariff war between the US and China, he criticized what he called a trend of “managed trade” and said it was “rewriting globalization”.
The business lobby also expressed doubts over specific parts of the agreement, such as the emphasis on bigger purchases of steel, even though China has been struggling with overproduction in the sector.
Wuttke welcomed Chinese Vice Premier Liu He’s statement that the deal would not affect third parties.
“(The statement) indicates that China might not be willing to just be forced to buy American products, they still want to maintain the right to source globally where products are (the) cheapest and best,” Wuttke said.
How the conflict between Beijing and Washington has been resolved – at least partially and temporarily – has not surprised European companies, which have been hit by US tariffs in sectors like Spanish olive oil.
“There’s this particular ban on Scottish whiskey and Spanish olive oil. There might be Italian or Greek olive oil but the fact is the American consumer gets told ‘you buy only this’,” Wuttke said.
“We do not like this kind of protectionism. Tariffs are something like an addiction, once you have it you don’t get rid of it, and certain interest groups will defend them. Getting tariffs down, as we learned last night, is very difficult,” he said.
Wuttke said that the real challenge in resolving the trade dispute lay in the “tech war”.
“There is tremendous pressure from the US on European business, you know the Huawei 5G story. But then again, like China, Europe doesn’t like to be told what to buy, where to buy,” he insisted.
Wuttke said EU firms suffered from the trade war because most of them operated in China and sold to China.
“We happen to sell to many Chinese exporters so indirectly many of us took a hit by this,” he said.
As part of Wednesday’s deal, the US agreed to cut tariffs on $120-billion worth of Chinese imports (imposed in September) from 15 percent to 7.5 percent and also suspend plans for 15 percent tariffs on $150 billion of Chinese goods that had been scheduled to go into effect last month.
However, tariffs ranging between 15 and 25 percent will remain in place on $370 billion worth of goods: roughly two-thirds of all US imports from China. EFE-EPA
MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration stands firm that the Philippines’ position will not be compromised should a joint oil exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea pushes through.
This is in relation to the country’s arbitral award on the disputed territory against China.
“First, this lifting of the moratorium is an exercise of our sovereign rights. In no way it weakens the arbitral decision, and our MOU to explore a joint development program or cooperation with China, in no way that it weakens or gives away our sovereign rights,” noted Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Department of Energy (DOE) to lift the suspension and once again issue a resume to work notice for service contractors for oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea.
“Although sovereign rights are defined as exclusive rights, that exclusive rights may be shared to others. The decision to share it is part of the sovereign rights,” explained Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. –MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
Around P50 million worth of misdeclared cigarettes from China were destroyed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Cagayan de Oro last October 2.
The cigarettes came from different shipments that were declared as furniture and disposable cups. One of the shipments arrived last May 14 while the other shipment arrived last June 9 at Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
District Collector John Simon issued a Decree of Abandonment after the shipment failed to request for extension of lodgement of its goods.
“The shipment has been previously issued with an Alert Order. This was followed by a 100% physical examination which revealed the shipment actually containing cigarettes,” the BOC said in a statement. AAC
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