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Protectionist measures against China set to increase, officials say
China and the United States will experience more trade friction in the high-end manufacturing sector, as Washington protects its domestic industries, officials said on Sunday.
Friction will "surely increase" as China and the US both focus on high-end and emerging industries, including new energy and materials, Zhang Xiangchen, director for trade policy research at the Ministry of Commerce, said.
Another official from the ministry also said that a developing trend sees US protectionism shifting from traditional sectors to emerging ones.
"We can forecast that the US will intensify trade investigations against Chinese new-energy exports," said Yu Benlin, deputy director of the ministry's bureau of fair trade for imports and exports.
Both officials made the remarks on Sunday at a forum marking the opening of the Canton Fair in Guangzhou. The fair, also known as the China Import and Export Fair, is a barometer of the trade sector.
The US used to accuse China of giving unfair support to traditional exports such as steel and chemical products. But in the past two years Washington has launched a slew of trade investigations targeting China's new-energy products.
The US launched an investigation against China's new-energy policies in 2010 and then started anti-dumping and countervailing investigations against Chinese solar panels and wind towers over the following 16 months, Yu said. This affected exports worth about $3 billion.
US protectionism hurts Chinese exporters and industries, Yu said.
The US, China's second-largest trade partner, has launched 73 trade investigations against China since 2007. This represents about 16 percent of investigations brought against China by other countries, Yu said. Cases launched by the US covered a combined export value of about $10.3 billion.