At the request of the Socialists and Democrats, the European Parliament today voted on a resolution against granting Market Economy Status to China. The text stresses the importance of free and fair trade and investment between the EU and China, but highlights that China doesn't yet fulfil the criteria established by the EU to define market economies.
The Parliament opposes any unilateral granting of the Market Economy Status to China in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and urges the Commission to coordinate with the EU's major trading partners to ensure that China does not abuse its position to dump its products after December 2016.*
S&D spokesperson on trade, David Martin MEP, said:
"This vote sends a strong signal that the European Parliament will not accept any measures that weaken our ability to defend ourselves from unfair Chinese competition. We cannot accept the granting of Market Economy Status to China and insist on improving our trade defence instruments. The manufacturing communities of Europe cannot afford further delay. We must act now or soon there won't be any EU industry left to defend.
"The S&D Group has led this charge, and given the urgency of the topic, brought this vote forward in the face of opposition from other political groups. We are now very pleased that all the major groups in the parliament have rallied round our position."
S&D spokesperson on trade relations with China, Alessia Mosca MEP, said:
"Today we have called on the Commission not to grant Market Economy Status to China. This was not a vote pro or against China, this is not a protectionist attitude: this is about defending our industries – and our standards – from unfair competition. We support free trade but only if a level playing field is ensured.
"The S&Ds have led this process from the beginning until the end and we will continue to demand guarantees that we will not sacrifice our businesses and thousands of jobs. It is an important message that this vote has brought together many political groups."
* Note to the editors
When 15 years ago China joined the WTO, a specific methodology for the calculation of dumping was introduced in Section 15 of the Accession Protocol on a temporary basis, with the expectation that China would have become a market economy by December 2016. This section allows the EU and all WTO members to apply special rules when dealing with Chinese imports to avoid unfair competition of Chinese products. Given that only certain provisions of section 15 will expire in December 2016, while the rest will remain in force and that China has not implemented the reforms to become a market economy, the application of special rules to Chinese imports should remain, allowing the EU to continue to protect EU companies and jobs.