Consul-General has defended restrictions on export of select inputs
Niu Qingbao, China's Consul-General in Mumbai, has defended his country's restrictions on export of several industrial raw materials and termed the decision of the World Trade Organization's Appellate Body against it ‘unfair'.
The U.S and several other countries, including India, Mexico and Brazil, recently won their battle against China at the WTO on export of raw materials. In a ruling, the WTO Appellate Body found China's restraints on export of industrial raw materials, used as key components in steel, aluminium and chemicals industries, to be inconsistent with China's WTO obligations.
Speaking to The Hindu here, Mr. Qingbao said, “I don't think it is very fair” on the part of the WTO. For all member countries of WTO, there is one law — conducting international trade in a fair manner. “What applies to China should also apply to other counties. Frankly speaking, India also may be faced with a similar situation. India also sometimes restricts export of raw materials such as iron ore and coal.”
The Appellate Body affirmed a WTO dispute settlement panel's July, 2011, finding, agreeing with the U.S. and rejecting China's attempts to portray its export restraints as conservation, or environmental protection measures, or measures taken to manage critical shortages of supply. Mr. Qingbao said China had every right to protect its environment. “I think India and China have a common ground, and at least we should have a common ground” with regard to economic aspects. You (western countries) cannot say that you (China) have natural resources and give it to me.”
“Ecology is a big problem for developing countries such as China… may not be a big problem for western countries. “For them (western countries) density of population is lower compared to China and India. Damage to our environment will adversely affect future generations,” he said.
Asked whether China would appeal against the Appellate Body's ruling, he said “the country's Commerce Department will decide on the issue.” Bilateral trade between India and China touched $73.9 billion in 2011, driven largely by India's imports of Chinese machinery and home appliances. It will touch $100 billion by 2015. The trade volume in 2011 was almost 25 times more than the volume in 2000 ($2.9 billion), Mr. Qingbao said.
“India is one of the largest trading partners of China, and the country imports from India chemicals, iron ore and cotton, while China exports to India home appliances, machinery and electronics,” he said. He said around 2,000 Chinese students were studying in Indian universities against nearly 10,000 Indian students studying in universities of China. “Many Chinese students are interested in courses in information technology and medical sciences in India. I think many more Chinese students want to study here (India),” he said.
However, Chinese students had been facing some difficulties in getting their visas extended for more than a year. Students complained that they had to wait for a couple of months to get visa from the Indian Government, the Consul General said.