Pakistan China Trade Stall due to ‘red tape’

Speakers on Wednesday unanimously blamed bureaucratic red tape for stalling economic cooperation between Pakistan and China as well progress at the regional level.

Prominent experts were addressing a conference on “Pakistan-China Economic Cooperation with focus on Thar Coal, Kashgar Special Economic Zone and Gwadar Sea Port.” The discussion was organised by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), said a press release issued by IPRI.

The speakers said that while major projects took time to start and limped along through procedural delays, trade prospects dwindled on account of Pakistani private sector’s obsession with doing business only with the Western countries.

They maintained this was Asia’s century led by China’s principled policy of peace and economic development. By rejecting confrontational policies and pursuing peace, China had brought a change in the strategic climate of the region.

Senator Mushahid Hussain said that it was an important juncture as the region was in transition. He said a new leadership is taking over in China, elections are due in Pakistan and Afghanistan would be entering a new phase with the US troops exit next year.

He said China’s pursuit of peace had made it the leader of Asia and defeated the proponents of a new great game. He said there were immense prospects of economic cooperation between Pakistan and China but bureaucratic delays stood in the way.

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China’s trade volume with neighbors exceeds that with Europe, US

China’s trade with neighboring countries exceeded the total that China had with Europe and the United States to reach 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars last year, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said here Saturday. Yang said such a trade volume was beyond his expectation and might further increase in the future. The situation in China’s neighboring regions, though becoming increasingly complex, remained generally stable, and relations between China and its neighbors continued to develop, he said at a press conference. Besides the trade growth, China has established strategic partnerships with most neighboring countries and more than 100 high-level official visits were made last year.

“It is not surprising to see 200 or even 300 such visits in the future. As neighbors, our relations will be closer with more exchanges,” he said at the press conference held on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session. Yang said China will host an annual meeting of the Boao Forum for Asia next month in Boao, Hainan Province, in which state leaders of China and some foreign countries, as well as heads of several international organizations will attend.

“This meeting will be a big event for promoting the common development of Asia and the world,” he said.

On territorial disputes between China and some neighbors, Yang said China sticks to a firm stand of defending its sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests, while sincerely wishing to properly handle and resolve the disputes through negotiation in a bid to maintain regional peace and stability.

China will continue to follow the policy of building good neighboring relations and partnership and foster amicable ties and mutual benefits with neighbors, he said. Yang said many Asian countries are very aware that cooperation with China would bring mutual benefits and interests.

“It is our common wish to further cooperation and jointly work for a stable and prosperous regional environment,” he said.

China and the ASEAN have launched the largest free trade area (FTA) among developing countries in the world while the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has formed its first strategy for medium and long-term development. The negotiations for the FTA among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea as well as the regional comprehensive partnership have been officially launched, which will be very important events, Yang said.

Iran-China trade at USD37bn

The head of Iran-China Chamber of Commerce Assadollah Asgaroladi said on Sunday that Tehran-Beijing trade fell to $37 billion in 2012 from $45 billion in 2011 showing an 8 percent decreasel.

China invested $600 million in Iran in 2012, he said.

Asgaroladi added that China which is the worldˈs second biggest economy was Iranˈs first trade partner in 2012.

He noted that Iranˈs strategy is to expand ties with China.

He called for removal of obstacles to expansion of Tehran-Beijing relations.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he said that Iranian importers and exporters face banking problems for increasing the volume of their trade.

Asgaroladi had previously said that Iran-China trade was expected to reach $50 billion in 2014 and 2015

China was said to have been the main destination for Iranian goods in the past year.

China’s WTO Representative Warns Of Intensive Trade Frictions

China should be mindful of increased trade frictions with European countries and the United States, the Chinese representative to World Trade Organisation (WTO) warned on Monday.

“China must remain alert to the intensity, measures and involved industrial sectors concerning trade restrictions on China,” said Yi Xiaozhun, permanent representative of China to the WTO.

European countries and the US are adopting increasingly harsh trade relief measures on China’s exports, Yi told China’s Xinhua news agency on the sidelines of the annual session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body.

The amounts of money involved in punitive measures have soared from several million US dollars a few years ago to billions of US dollars at present, Yi said.

In 2012, the EU launched anti-dumping investigations into photovoltaic cells from China valued at over US$20 billion, affecting the entire Chinese photovoltaic cell industry.
Yi said trade frictions have expanded from low-end sectors like textiles and shoes to high-end sectors such as the photovoltaic and telecommunications industries, in which China is showing competitiveness or taking a leading role.

“The EU poses itself as the ‘leader’ in coping with climate change, but at the same time, it exercises trade sanctions on Chinese environmental friendly and energy-saving products that are inexpensive but good. It is apparently inconsistent and unreasonable,” said Yi.

Yi said the EU and the US keep creating trade frictions and increasing punitive measures because most developed countries have been hit hard by the economic downturn.

They opt for trade protection measures to safeguard their own industries and job opportunities.

“For political reasons, European countries and the US do not simply target specific products in trade restrictions. They point at China’s macro policies and systems,” said Yi.

Over half of the world’s countervailing measures are directed against China, and 70 percent of US countervailing measures are aimed at China, he said.

“We must resolutely oppose such trade protectionism abuse,” Yi said. “Otherwise, China will see an increasingly worse export environment.”