Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章), Taiwan's ambassador to the WTO, said yesterday that China should consult with Taiwan over its launch of an investigation into claims of dumping by its steel producers.
The request came on the heels of reports that Beijing has launched an investigation into whether imports of cold-rolled steel products from Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan constitute dumping.
The investigation followed complaints by Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp (
"We have to respond to the complaints and investigate the case under procedures laid out under the WTO," Wang said.
The overseas steelmakers will have until April 12 to respond to the ministry's investigation, which will run until March 23, 2003, Wang said.
Yen, who was sworn in as Taiwan's first representative to the WTO's headquarters in Geneva by President Chen Shui-bian (
"We are entitled to be consulted by the Chinese government and that's a matter I will certainly take back to Geneva where I will bring the case before the secretariat of the WTO," Yen said.
According to the WTO's Anti-Dumping Agreement, members must be consulted by any other member that initiates an anti-dumping investigation, he said
Article 6 of the agreement states: "To ensure the transparency of proceedings, authorities are required to disclose the information on which determinations are to be based to interested parties and provide them with adequate opportunity to comment."
The agreement also "establishes the rights of parties to participate in the investigation, including the right to meet with parties with adverse interests."
Wayne Wu (
The three companies identified in the investigation -- China Steel Corp (
Yen said he was unsure whether Beijing would attempt to handle the matter as a domestic issue based on its assumption that Taiwan is a part of China.
"I'm not quite sure whether this type of dialogue would amount to so-called dialogue between two countries ... but certainly you can see that the interaction between China and Taiwan within the multilateral framework of the WTO cannot be described as domestic," he said.
A spokeswoman for China Steel, Taiwan's largest steel producer, said that senior executives had been informed by the Chinese of the investigation and that the company would be seeking legal advice on how to respond.
The spokesperson said that any penalties imposed on Taiwan wouldn't seriously impact China Steel because the percentage of cold-rolled steel products sold across the Taiwan Strait was comparatively small.
China Steel exported 193,000 tonnes of cold-rolled steel to China last year. Total exports of the product were 3.8 million tonnes, the spokesperson said.