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Protectionism no painkiller for Europe

2013-05-16 15:08 Xinhua     Web Editor: Gu Liping comment

The European Commission warned Wednesday it stood ready to launch an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe into mobile telecommunications equipment imports from China.

It marked the second time in a week the European Union (EU) had flexed its trade muscles against China, arousing concerns that protectionism is on the rise in the 27-nation bloc.

The EU's executive arm decided Wednesday last week to slap a hefty 47 percent punitive tariff on Chinese solar panels. It affects about 21 billion euros (27.6 billion U.S. dollars) worth of Chinese exports, making it the EU's largest anti-dumping case to date.

Both are high-profile cases not only because a significant amount of trade is at stake, but open new fronts for trade friction between the two economic powers by targeting the rising industries of information and clean energy, instead of sunset ones such as textiles and shoes.

The latest offensive measures have been taken at a time when the EU is still struggling with a sovereign debt crisis and the temptation for protectionism is growing strong.

According to official figures, the EU is plagued by the longest economic contraction since records began in 1995, with gross domestic product (GDP) falling 0.7 percent in the first quarter year-on-year.

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