EU to single out Chinese imports in report on market distortions

Members of IG Metall trade union attend a protest of steelworkers. The EU is to single out China in a report on market distortions. (AFP)
Updated 06 October 2017
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EU to single out Chinese imports in report on market distortions

BRUSSELS: China will be singled out for special attention under new trade rules to limit excessively cheap imports into the EU, a European Commission official said yesterday.
The Commission, member states and EU lawmakers agreed on Tuesday to treat all World Trade Organization members the same in determining whether they are dumping products.
Under normal circumstances, dumping will mean selling below domestic prices, but the EU will make exceptions for cases of “significant market distortions”, allowing investigators to compare export prices with international benchmarks.
The Commission has said it would produce reports on major countries where it suspects such distortions prevail. For the time being, however, it will produce only one.
“China will come out first,” said a Commission official who requested not to be named.
“There is no clear plan to do other reports than for China.
“It is resource-intensive,” the official continued, adding that the absence of a report on a given country did not mean EU producers could not point to distortions there.
The official did not rule out reports on other countries in the future.
EU officials have regularly said that, despite the changes for anti-dumping cases, China is not a market economy.
Of 32 trade investigations the Commission is carrying out, 22 feature Chinese imports.
The EU and many of China's other trading partners have debated whether to treat China as a “market economy”, which Beijing says was its right at the end of 2016, some 15 years after it joined the WTO.
The EU kicked off discussions early in 2016 and held public consultations, gathering over 5,000 opinions on how to handle trade complaints against China.
The Commission concluded it could not retain the current practice of considering China as a “non-market economy” and comparing Chinese export prices with those from another country, such as the US.
But critics have said that Chinese businesses are subject to excessive state intervention with artificially low domestic prices, threatening to expose European markets to more dumping.
EU steelmakers association Eurofer, which has brought a series of trade complaints against Chinese imports, said the new EU agreement was important, but that it wanted to see how it worked in practice.


Walmart, Microsoft team up to take on Amazon

Updated 17 July 2018
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Walmart, Microsoft team up to take on Amazon

  • The move is aimed at helping Walmart compete better against Amazon
  • Walmart is already using Microsoft services for some applications

WASHINGTON: Walmart said Tuesday it was entering into a strategic partnership with Microsoft on “digital transformation” for the onetime retail industry leader.
The move is aimed at helping Walmart compete better against Amazon, which is taking a growing share of retail sales in the United States and globally.
The two firms said the partnership was focused on using artificial intelligence and other technology tools to help manage costs, expand operations and innovate faster.
“Walmart’s commitment to technology is centered around creating incredibly convenient ways for customers to shop and empowering associates to do their best work,” said Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO.
Microsoft’s business cloud computing platform known as Azure will help Walmart manage operations ranging from refrigeration and air conditioning to improving its supply chain and transportation.
“The world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and I’m thrilled to partner with Walmart to accelerate their digital transformation with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Walmart is already using Microsoft services for some applications and will expand that to tap into Microsoft’s machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data platform, according to the statement.
Earlier this month, the research firm eMarketer said Amazon’s surging growth would enable it to capture 49.1 percent of US online retail sales this year, up from 43.5 percent.
Amazon is far ahead of online rivals like eBay, with 6.6 percent of ecommerce, and Apple, at 3.9 percent, according to eMarketer, which estimated Walmart’s share at 3.7 percent.
According to the research, Amazon now controls nearly five of the total US retail market, including online and offline.