China calls US repeat abuser of world trade rules

Above, workers at a steel mill of Dongbei Special Steel in Dalian, Liaoning province. US President Donald Trump earlier announced hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, aimed at hitting Chinese overproduction. (Reuters)
Updated 22 March 2018
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China calls US repeat abuser of world trade rules

SHANGHAI: China accused the US of “repeatedly abusing” international trade rules, as Beijing braced on Thursday for an imminent announcement from President Donald Trump slapping more tariffs on Chinese imports.
A World Trade Organization ruling against Obama-era anti-subsidy tariffs on Wednesday handed China’s commerce ministry ammunition to criticize Washington’s conduct in trade affairs.
The ruling “proves that the US side has violated WTO rules, repeatedly abused trade remedy measures, which has seriously damaged the fair and just nature of the international trade environment and weakened the stability of the multilateral trading system,” the ministry said.
There are growing fears that the world’s two largest economies could be sliding toward a trade war as Trump seeks to fulfill election campaign promises to get tough with China over its huge surplus with the US.
Trump is expected to announce by Friday tariffs on Chinese imports worth up to $60 billion, and Beijing, according to the Wall Street Journal, has prepared retaliatory measures.
In the statement posted on its website late on Wednesday, the commerce ministry urged the US to provide Chinese companies with a “fair and stable international trade environment.”
The WTO ruled the US had not fully complied with a 2014 ruling against its anti-subsidy tariffs on a range of Chinese products. However, it also supported the US claim that Chinese exporters were getting subsidies from “public bodies,” despite Beijing’s assertions to the contrary.
China went to the WTO in 2012 to challenge US anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese exports including solar panels, wind turbines, steel cylinders and aluminum extrusions.
The tariffs that Trump is expected to announce will aim at curbing theft of US technology by China.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday they would target China’s high technology sector and there could also be restrictions on Chinese investments in the US. Other sectors like apparel could also be hit.
An editorial in the state-run China Daily newspaper said the world should stand together to prevent a trade war, warning that China would not be the Trump administration’s only target.
“Since the US seems unlikely to mend its ways, other countries should stop hoping they will be spared its protectionist shots and become more resolute in standing firm against them,” the newspaper said.
“History shows the pinpricks of protectionism can ultimately lead to the shots of war somewhere down the line.”
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that China was preparing to hit back with tariffs aimed at Trump’s support base, including levies targeting US agricultural exports, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
Analysts said US companies like Boeing Co, which sell billions of dollars’ worth of planes to Chinese airlines, as well as deals which require Chinese approval could also become caught in the cross fire should a trade war break out.
Boeing this week announced a $3.6 billion order from China Southern Airlines Co.’s subsidiary Xiamen Airlines. Chip giant Qualcomm is still waiting for Chinese approval of its proposed $44 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors.
US electric carmaker Tesla Inc. is in long-running talks with Shanghai authorities to build a local manufacturing plant in the city, while Chinese state media have called for measures against US soybean imports to China.
“China has a lot of options on the table with respect to potential retaliation,” said William Marshall, a Hong Kong-based lawyer who advises both US and Chinese clients on investments and disputes.
“Day to day business could become more difficult.”


Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

Updated 23 September 2018
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Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

  • The company would concentrate on its core strength, ‘powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles’
  • But Porsche promised it would keep servicing diesel models on the road now

BERLIN: Sports car maker Porsche said Sunday it would become the first German auto giant to abandon the diesel engine, reacting to parent company Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal and resulting urban driving bans.
“There won’t be any Porsche diesels in the future,” CEO Oliver Blume told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Instead, the company would concentrate on what he called its core strength, “powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles.”
The Porsche chief conceded the step was a result of the three-year-old “dieselgate” scandal at auto giant Volkswagen, the group to which the luxury sports car brand belongs.
VW in 2015 admitted to US regulators to having installed so-called “defeat devices” in 11 million cars worldwide to dupe emissions tests.
It has so far paid out more than €27 billion in fines, vehicle buybacks, recalls and legal costs and remains mired in legal woes at home and abroad.
Diesel car sales have dropped sharply as several German cities have banned them to bring down air pollution — a trend that Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to discuss with car company chiefs in Berlin later Sunday.
Stuttgart-based Porsche in February stopped taking orders for diesel models, which it had sold for nearly a decade.
Blume said Porsche had “never developed and produced diesel engines,” having used Audi motors, yet the image of the brand had suffered.
“The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble,” he said, months after Germany’s Federal Transport Authority ordered the recall of nearly 60,000 Porsche SUVs in Europe.
Blume promised that the company would keep servicing diesel models on the road now.
According to the paper, Porsche also faces claims of having manipulated engines to produce a more powerful sound with a technique that was deactivated during testing.
Blume acknowledged that German regulators had found irregularities in the 8-cylinder Cayenne EU5, affecting some 13,500 units.
Merkel, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and heads of German auto companies were due to meet in Berlin later Sunday to discuss steps to avoid more city driving bans.
The German government hopes to see one million fully electric and hybrid vehicles on the road by 2022, up from fewer than 100,000 at the start of this year.