The joint complaint of the United States, Europe and Japan against China is not surprising. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has already ruled illegal last summer, Beijing's restrictions on exports of commodities in general. And China's argument that its quota of "rare earths" are intended to "protect the environment and achieving sustainable development" is not fooling anyone.
China, which recorded a trade deficit in February to $ 31.5 billion, supports its industry through subsidies and by keeping its currency, the yuan, at a deliberately undervalued. But at a time when the "Buy European Act", like the "Buy American Act", is invited in the French election campaign, there are concerns of a revival of protectionism in the world.
If one believes the Swiss NGO Global Trade Alert, trade tensions are "at their highest level since the Lehman crisis in 2009" and, since July 2011, "protectionist measures exceeded those due to liberalization three for ". In its latest report on trade barriers, Brussels estimates that European companies "have suffered from a revival of protectionism, especially in emerging countries."
This revival is not just Asia. In Brazil, where growth fell from 7.5% in 2010 to 2.7% last year, the Minister of Finance decided a 30% increase taxes on imported vehicles whose parts are not at 65 % at least "made in Mercosur" (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela) payday loans. The National Confederation of Industry of this country calls for new support measures.
Asia and Latin America in mind
Pretext not to disrupt the balance of payments, while its access to capital markets remains limited, Argentina imposed a series of restrictions "informal" imports: Porsche had to commit to buying wine and oil Argentine olive to bring a hundred cars, and BlackBerry has opened a plant in Tierra del Fuego to continue to sell its mobile phones. More generally, the Mercosur countries have agreed to increase their taxes, up to 35% on all products imported from outside of their block.
At the last WTO ministerial conference in December, its director general, Pascal Lamy, noted that the number of protectionist measures worldwide had increased from 220 in 2010 to 340 in 2011. China has two logical write two MEPs in a recent report: "the temptation of protectionism that conditioning access to its domestic industry to put its head in all new waves of technology (…) and that of the universalist ambitions of foreign market access. "
Certainly, calculates the WTO anti-dumping investigations declined from 213 in 2008 to 153 in 2011. But any return to protectionism today would cost $ 800 billion into the global economy, she warns.
"Trade: Japan, Europe and the United States attacked China
"Protectionism" Brussels must respond "