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European Commission opens debate on China trade status

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Staff writer ▼ | January 14, 2016
The European Commission will consult industry and its trade partners in response to Beijing's demand that trade barriers against it be relaxed.
Trade relations   Granting China market economy status
The European Union's 28 commissioners discussed for the first time the issue of granting China "market economy status" from December, which Beijing says is its right 15 years after it joined the World Trade Organisation.

That status would make it harder for Europe to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods sold at knock-down prices, changing the criteria for determining a fair price.

The Commission said any decision would have an impact on the European economy but gave no details. The EU is China's biggest trade partner, and China is second only to the United States for the EU.

Chinese imports to the EU were worth 302 billion euros ($330 billion) in 2014, more than triple their level at the start of the century.

The EU executive, which handles trade issues on behalf of EU governments, said it would fully involve European industry and liaise closely with its biggest trade partners on the issue, acknowledging this would take some time.