China has filed an unfair trade case against the European Union, saying the tariff the 27-nation bloc has imposed on Chinese shoes are protectionist and damaging to free trade, reveals an Associated Press story published by the South China Morning Post.
The report says that the official complaint filed at the World Trade Organisation initiates a 60-day consultation period, after which Beijing can ask the WTO to set up an investigative panel. If the WTO rules against Brussels, it can allow China to retaliate with higher tariffs on European goods.
The EU introduced the trade charges in October 2006, claiming China is guilty of "uncompetitive behaviour," causing significant harm to EU manufacturers, which employ 260,000 in Europe.
European importers and retailers have also called for an end to the charges, saying they cost shoppers millions of euros each year. The charges add 9.7% to 16.5% to the import price of Chinese shoes. But the EU says the extra fees have not raised consumer prices or hurt distributors' "healthy" profits, notes the AP report.