European industry groups from a wide range of sectors are meeting with European Commission trade officials this week and late this month. These meetings are designed to establish whether there are legal and economic grounds to join the US and Mexico in launching legal action at the WTO against China’s alleged subsidies that promote exports of Chinese branded goods, and assess what is the position of the European industries with respect to such a move.  

The Commission has already met with representatives from the European textiles sector, who have pushed for such legal action against alleged Chinese export subsidies on branded goods at the WTO. The International Association of Users of Artificial and Synthetic Filament Yarns and of Natural Silk (IAUFFASS) and the Committee of the Cotton and Allied Textile Industries of the European Communities (Eurocoton) are expected to present figures to trade officials demonstrating the underlining injury to their industry resulting from alleged export subsidy schemes by Chinese government. They are expected to argue the EU should follow the US’s example and start WTO negotiations with China over the issue.  

Europe’s chemicals industry is currently consulting with its members to determine whether the export subsidies affect their sector. Europe’s machinery and farm products industry are also considering discussions with the Commission. The general consensus in the EU is that the textiles and ICT sectors are the most severely affected by China’s aid programs.

On 19 January the European Union requested observer status in the US and Mexico’s WTO consultations with China that were launched last December, challenging up to 17 separate state programs alleged to illegally benefit Chinese producers of branded goods from refrigerators to beer and textiles.  

It is understood that the Commission’s meetings with representatives of European business and with representatives of specific sectors aim to decide what further action, if any, the EU will take. As of yet there have not been any firm deadlines established for this but it is said that the Commission seeks a swift decision so that a potential new case could join with the proceedings already underway.  

In addition, it is also said that a delegation of Turkish opposition politicians have been invited to speak at the European Parliament on 10 February. They are also expected to bring up the topic of Chinese export subsidies