March 09th, 2009 | China urges Argentina to lift import restrictions on Chinese goods
Chinese business circles are deeply worried about the protectionist measures against Chinese products that the Argentine government has taken, a senior diplomat at the Chinese Embassy said in an interview published in La Nacion newspaper Sunday.
“These import measures are discriminatory,” said Yang Shidi, economic and commercial counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Argentina.
The measures that Argentina has adopted since 2008 have affected many Chinese products and run contrary to the memorandum of understanding signed by China and Argentina in 2004, in which the Argentine side recognized China’s market economy status, Yang said.
Argentina calculated the dumping margin for the Chinese products on the basis of the prices of a third country, he said.
“It is not fair,” because the costs of raw materials and manpower as well as productivity in China are different from those of other countries, Yang said.
He stressed that a World Trade Organization member must respect related rules and regulations while introducing measures to protect its own trade.
China stood firm against trade protectionism and urged to solve trade frictions through international consultation and cooperation, Yang said.
Argentina is China’s fourth biggest trade partner in Latin America, while China is Argentina’s second largest export destination. The Chinese government, which attaches great importance to the growth of China-Argentina bilateral trade, has never imposed any import restrictions on Argentine goods, the diplomat said.
The Chinese government always adopts an open and constructive attitude towards trade dispute settlement, and it hopes to reduce trade disputes through dialogue and consultation, Yang added.
The Chinese government also hoped the Argentine side could adopt a positive attitude over the issue, lift its import restriction on Chinese products and expand bilateral trade.
Argentina’s National Institute of Statistics said in a report that the Argentine trade deficit with China reached 700 million U.S. dollars in 2008, which has drawn concerns of the Argentine government and the country’s business circle.
However, the statistics released by the Chinese customs showed that China has registered trade deficits with Argentina from 1998 to 2007 except for a few special years, Yang said.
Moreover, China’s trade deficit with Argentina widened to 4.3 billion dollars in 2008 from 320 million dollars in 2000, Yang added.
The different trade statistics resulted from two sets of different statistical standards applied by the Chinese and Argentine customs respectively, Yang explained.
The Argentine side will enjoy a trade surplus with China in the long run, the diplomat added.