1708928127 The WTO meets in view of the threat of overcapacity

The WTO meets in view of the threat of overcapacity in Chinese industry

The headquarters of Chinese real estate giant Country Gardens in Foshan city, south China's Guangdong province, 15 June 2023. The headquarters of Country Gardens, a Chinese real estate giant, in Foshan, southern Guangdong province, China, June 15, 2023. STR/AFP

The 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will take place from Monday, February 26th to Thursday, February 29th in Abu Dhabi, without any great ambitions and against the background of trade tensions with China. The only agreement reached during four days of negotiations aims to ban fishing subsidies, which contribute to the depletion of fisheries resources.

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There are still numerous differences of opinion on other issues, in particular the new rules for industrial policy and the reform of the WTO. The Geneva institution has been weakened since the United States blocked the work of its appellate body, which is essential to resolving commercial disputes. This is all the more true as Washington and Brussels accuse Beijing of distorting international competition by supporting its industry. “The context has become more complicated with more offensive countries,” notes a French diplomat.

In its February 19 edition, the Financial Times revealed that US Treasury Department officials had traveled to China to express concern to Vice Premier He Lifeng about supporting China's manufacturing industry, whose overcapacity has led to a surge in low-cost products in strategic areas Sectors such as wind power would lead to electricity, batteries and electric vehicles around the world. The issue will be discussed at the next G20 financial meeting in Brazil at the end of February.

“Real estate in crisis”

Brussels, in turn, announced on February 16 the opening of an investigation into a subsidiary of Chinese railway manufacturer CRRC, which is the world's number one in the industry and is suspected of receiving subsidies that allow it to charge low prices. This comes in addition to another European investigation into public aid that has benefited the country's electric vehicle manufacturers. According to estimates by the company Inovev, their market share in the European Union increased from 4% to 8% between 2021 and 2023. Western countries are not the only ones on the defensive since India imposed anti-dumping measures Chinese imports of steel and laser machines.

“Chinese loans are being massively diverted to manufacturing, as the real estate sector is in crisis and the infrastructure sector is completely slowed down,” emphasizes Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief economist at Natixis for the Asia-Pacific region, and regardless of the price, have to sell, what they produce. »

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