Trade News: Trade Relationship with China: It’s Complicated? It’s Crazy Making?

We accuse and scold China of their many unfair dealings, point wagging fingers at them, and yet fall all over ourselves to do business with them and gain access to their markets… sometimes making crazy compromises and going to any lengths to satisfy them.  It’s like trying to have a romantic relationship with someone who has a borderline personality disorder. Love me – I need you, I hate you – leave me, I can’t live without you, go away, no… please come back!

China related articles from ICTSD: Too Many Strings Attached to Chinese Electric Car Subsidy: GM. General Motors last week announced that it would no longer seek to manufacture its newest electric car in China, eschewing a massive subsidy offer that would have forced the automaker to divulge technology secrets. According to the New York Times, China is offering a consumer subsidy of more than US$19,000 per unit for the sale of the next generation of electric cars in China, an amount that is nearly half the value of a new electric car.

US Senate Gears Up for China Currency Vote.  The US Senate is preparing legislation targeting China’s valuation of its currency. The bill would allow the US to impose duties on countries that undervalue their currencies. The move has provoked a stern response from the Chinese government which has cautioned that such legislation could lead to a trade war between the two countries.

Chinese Manufacturers Export Market Share

China Export Growth to Slow in Rest of 2011. China’s export growth is likely to slow down in the remaining months of 2011, but that won’t automatically translate into a weaker currency. Vice Commerce Minister Chen Jian remarked, “The growth margin will diminish. We hope it will turn around as soon as possible.” See article for more details as well as this follow-up article, China to Continue Global Expansion despite Economic Contraction.

China Restrictions on Rare Earths Prompt EU, US, Japan Gathering.  China is the world’s leading producer of rare earth minerals, supplying over 95 percent of the metals to companies around the world. China began stockpiling rare earths in 2010 and reduced global exports by 40 percent by June 2011. The US and Japan are the largest importers of China’s rare earth metals which are critical ingredients for the manufacture of many high-tech, strategic, and green industrial goods.

From WITA (Reuters Article): “U.S. accuses China, India of Hiding Subsidy Programs”. The United States on Thursday accused China of flouting World Trade Organization rules by failing to notify the world trade body of nearly 200 government subsidy programs.

From Census/Global Reach: National Export Initiative Priority Markets: China. 58 percent of U.S. exporters export to only one market, mainly Canada. However, China is the world’s fastest-growing major economy and the fastest-growing U.S. export market. It is now our second-largest trading partner. Check out the latest video on China from the National Export Initiative Priority Markets series.

From Datamyne: Datamyne Top 5: Chinese Solar Module Shippers. Recently there’s been a surge in solar imports from China that has alarmed advocates for the US domestic industry. The Datamyne article reveals top shippers to the US by volume so far this year.

A follow-up DM article, Chinese Solar Imports Draw Fire addresses the question: do surging shipments and dropping prices signal dumping?   The chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Trade has called on President Obama to curb Chinese solar product imports which, he charges, are heavily subsidized by the Chinese government and are priced at levels that do not reflect the reality of the marketplace.

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