TURKEY: Punitive tariffs against imports of Chinese glasses

In the first trade battle since Beijing“s entry into the World Trade Organisation, Turkey is considering punitive tariffs against imports of Chinese glasses, and mainland manufacturers fear other cou…

In the first trade battle since Beijing“s entry into the World Trade Organisation, Turkey is considering punitive tariffs against imports of Chinese glasses, and mainland manufacturers fear other countries will follow suit. On 13 November 2001, Turkey“s Foreign Trade Bureau announced it had opened an investigation into the imports after complaints from domestic producers who said that, while imports in the three years up to 2000 rose by 2.5%, 8.5% and 153% respectively, those from China increased by 29%, 53% and 256% in the same period. If the bureau determines that the surge in imports gravely threatens the domestic industry, the government has the right under WTO rules to impose high tariffs and import quotas. Mainland exporters are watching the case closely because other countries could follow the Turkish example. Since 1979, Chinese firms have been served with more than 470 suits for unfair trade, including dumping, and expect more after WTO entry. The centre of China“s glasses industry is Wenzhou, which produces three million pairs a day, with an annual output value of CNY 4.5 billion, of which more than 60% are exported to almost 100 countries. Lin Guoxin, deputy general manager of the Wenzhou Light Industry Foreign Trade Co., said “Turkey could impose a tax of 100%. Other countries will follow suit. Our prices are low because we have a low profit margin, about 5%. In exporting our goods, we consider sales first and profit second. They want us to raise our prices, which is unreasonable.” The 13 key producers in Wenzhou presented their answer to the Turkish investigation on 28 December, with details of production costs, and have engaged a French law firm to fight the case.