Analysis. Europe’s leaders agreed on protectionist measures to prevent China from dumping below-market-price products into the E.U. market. How will China react?

E.U. agrees on anti-dumping deal with view to China

Negotiators from the E.U. Parliament and the European Council reached an agreement on anti-dumping legislation, based on a November proposal by the European Commission. The measures are designed to protect European countries from generic risks, but they actually have a clear and evident target: China.

“Europe is for open and fair trade, but we are not naive defenders of free trade,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, insisting that it is not about targeting “a country in particular,” but to ensure the 28 member states have a means to take action against unfair competition and the dumping of cheap products into Europe and undermining wages and employment.

European leaders agreed on the terms of the deal after a debate that actually included China, apparently to deflect criticism about the real objective of the operation.

As part of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which Beijing officially joined in 2001, a debate has yet to be held on the “status” of the Chinese economy.

China has been asking its trading partners, particularly the E.U. and the United States, to be considered as a “market economy.” As a consequence, this would cause significant changes with respect to its status as a “developing country,” because it would make it much more difficult to introduce measures to block unfair commercial practices.

China even filed a complaint with the WTO to push Brussels and Washington to consider it a market economy. But the confrontation is going to last for a long time because the European Commission has already announced a number of additional measures that could be put in place and approved by the end of the year.

Beijing has already qualified these moves as “protectionism.” Let’s see what maneuvers the Communist Party of China will take against the Old Continent when the New Silk Road mega-project goes into action.

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