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经贸博览之六:保障措施

2006-02-17 00:00   来源:商务部外事司       我要纠错 | 打印 | 收藏 | | |

  第一部分:

  一则新闻:美国对华201钢铁保障案

  现在,我们来看《人民日报》2001年12月14日的一则新闻。

  题目:中国关切美国201钢铁保障案

  中国对外贸易经济合作部新闻发言人高燕表示,中国非常关注美国国际贸易委员会(USITC)在201钢铁保障案中建议的支持性措施。美国国际贸易委员会在12月7日公布了在201条款下有关进口钢铁产品的建议措施,这些措施将很快提交给美国总统。

  高燕指出,USITC的大多数委员都建议对被调查的钢铁产品施加已经为期4年的高进口关税和关税配额。中国政府对该201条款调查后的建议以及可能的后果表示关注。

  高燕称,中国认为,USITC的建议措施将阻止其它国家的钢铁产品进入美国市场。

  高燕称,这样的壁垒将有悖于世界贸易组织所倡导的贸易自由化政策,在全球经济增长放缓的现状下,不仅会影响国际贸易秩序的稳定,而且有害于在国际竞争中美国钢铁产业的健康发展。

  在今年6月28日,USTIC开始对来自于包括中国在内的其它国家和地区的4种钢铁产品进行调查。

  该调查是根据《美国1974年贸易法案》的201节展开,目的是确定进口产品是否威胁或损害美国国内钢铁产业。

  高燕表示,中国一贯反对任何形式的贸易保护主义,不愿意看到正常的国际贸易受到非正当贸易政策和措施的阻挠。她补充说,中国政府将密切注视该问题,并表示,她希望美国方面会进一步考虑中国和其它国家的立场,适当地处理该问题。(结束)

  读罢这则新闻,我们会思考几个问题。很清楚,中国和美国在“201钢铁保障案”中有矛盾。那么什么是“201钢铁保障案”?简言之,就是在《美国1974年贸易法案》201节下展开的有关钢铁产品的案子。具体而言,说来话长。

  “201钢铁保障案”背景

  考虑到明显的财务损失、利润、投资回报和市场份额的下降,美国总统布什于2001年6月5日针对美国钢铁产业面临的挑战宣布一项全面的动议。作为动议的一部分,美国总统指示贸易代表办公室(USTR)要求USITC在201条款下启动有关钢铁进口对美国国内钢铁产业影响的调查(USTR给USITC请求信摘录)。

  2001年6月28日,USITC对来自包括中国在内的其他国家和地区的4类钢铁产品进行调查。

  2001年12月19日,USITC向美国总统递交其在201条款下有关钢铁产品进口调查的报告。

  2002年3月5日,美国总统布什在一份公告中宣布对来自包括中国在内的其他国家和地区的某些钢铁产品进行不同形式的保障措施的裁决。

  《美国1974年法案》第201节

  根据201条款,受到进口增加导致的严重损害或严重损害威胁的国内产业可以向USITC申请进口救济。USITC裁定一件商品是否以实质上造成美国国内生产同类产品或直接竞争产品的产业严重损害或严重损害威胁的程度进口。如果委员会做出肯定性裁定,他会推荐美国总统采取以防止或弥补损害为目的的救济,并促进针对进口竞争的产业调整。总统就是否提供救济和救济的数量做出最终决定。

  201条款不要求有关不公平贸易行为的裁定,这点不同于反倾销和反补贴法以及《美国1930年关税法案》337节。但是,201条款的损害要求被认为比那些不公平贸易法律的要求高。201条款要求损害或损害威胁应当是“严重的”,以及进口增加是否是造成严重损害或严重损害威胁的“实质原因”(就是很重要,在重要性上不低于其它任何因素)。

  201条款的进口救济标准是基于GATT1994的第19条,在《WTO保障措施协定》中进一步定义。GATT第19条经常被称为逃脱条款,因为当增加的进口产品对于国内生产商正在造成或正在威胁造成严重损害的时候,它允许一国暂时性的从GATT所规定的有关产品的义务中“逃脱”。201条款为美国总统调用在GATT19条中的权利提供了美国法律下的法律框架。

  何时:USITC一收到代表国内产业的贸易协会、公司、注册或认可的联合会或工人团体的申请;一收到总统或USTR的要求;一收到众议院方式方法委员会或参议院金融委员会的决定;或基于自己的动议,就进行调查。

  期限:USITC通常在收到申请、要求、决定或自己动议后120天内做出损害裁定(更复杂的案子,可以是150天),并且必须将报告以及任何救济建议在收到申请、要求、决定或自己动议后180天内递交给总统。

  裁定:如果USITC做出肯定性裁定,其必须向总统建议补偿办法,如果有救济,由总统决定实施什么样的救济措施。救济措施可以是提高关税、数量限制或有序市场协定。

  后续安排:如果提供救济,USITC将定期报告在救济期产业内的发展情况。如收到请求,USTIC将建议总统对于正在实施生效的救济进行减少、修改或终止的可能的经济效果。在任何救济期结束的时候,USITC被要求向总统和国会报告救济对于促进国内产业面对进口竞争所做积极调整的效果。

  如果在磋商后仍无法达成双方都满意的结果…

  如果各方没有达成一致,就得寻求WTO争端解决机制的帮助。关于争端解决的有关协定是《关于争端解决规则和程序的谅解》。对于保障措施,对应的WTO协定是《保障措施协定》。我们将在下一期的经贸博览中对这两个协定,特别是《保障措施协定》详加讨论,它们对于中国利益重大、至关重要。

  Part 1:

  Starting with a Piece of News (excerpted)

  Now, let us probe into a piece of news from People’s Daily dated December 14, 2001.

  China Concerns Over US 201 Steel Case

  “China is strongly concerned over the recent support measures suggested by the US International Trade Commission (USITC) in the 201 steel case. The USITC published the suggested measures concerning imported steel products based on Section 201 on December 7, which will be referred to President Bush soon, said Gao Yan, spokeswoman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC).

  Gao pointed out that most of the USITC commissioners suggested to carry on the high import duty and tariff quota on the steel products under investigation, which have lasted four years already. The Chinese government is very concerned about this suggestion and the possible result of the 201 investigations.

  According to Gao, the Chinese side holds that the USITC suggestion will bar the steel products of other countries from entering the US market.

  Such a barrier would run counter to the policy of trade liberalization advocated by the World Trade Organization(WTO), and it will not only affect the stability of international trade order under the present conditions of slowed world economic development, but also harm the healthy growth of the US steel enterprises in international competition, said Gao.

  On June 28 this year, the USITC started to investigate four types of steel products imported from countries and regions including China.

  The investigation was carried out under the Section 201 of the US Trade Act of 1974, aiming to determine whether the imported products would threaten or harm the relevant US domestic industries.

  Gao noted that China has always objected to trade protectionism in any form, and is unwilling to see the normal international trade disturbed by improper trade policies and measures. She added that the Chinese government would closely follow the issue, and said that she hoped that the US side would further consider the stances of China and other countries, and handle the issue properly. “ (the END)

  After we read this news, several questions come to our minds. Clearly, there is certain problem between China and the US in terms of “201 Steel Case”. So what does “201 Steel Case” mean? Simply put, it means a case involving steel products under the Section 201 of US Trade Act of 1974. In detail, it is a long story.

  Background of “201 Steel Case”

  “Given the marked financial loss and declined profits, returns on investment and market share of the US steel industry, on June 5 2001, the US President Bush announced a comprehensive initiative to respond to the challenges facing the US steel industry. As part of this initiative, the US President directed the US Trade Representative Office (USTR) to request the US International Trade Commission (USITC) to initiate an investigation under Section 201 of US Trade Act of 1974 of the effect of the steel imports to the US steel industry. “(Excerpted from the request letter by USTR to USITC)

  On June 28 2001, the USITC started to investigate four types of steel products imported from countries and regions including China.

  On December 19, 2001, the (USITC) transmitted to the President a report on its investigation under section 202 of the Trade Act of 1974, with respect to imports of certain steel products.

  On March 5 2002, the US President Bush announced, in a proclamation, his determination with regard to safeguard measures in various forms on some steel imports to the US from several countries including China.

  Section 201 of US Trade Act of 1974

  Under section 201, domestic industries seriously injured or threatened with serious injury by increased imports may petition the USITC for import relief. The USITC determines whether an article is being imported in such increased quantities that it is a substantial cause of serious injury, or threat thereof, to the U.S. industry producing an article like or directly competitive with the imported article. If the Commission makes an affirmative determination, it recommends to the President relief that would prevent or remedy the injury and facilitates industry adjustment to import competition. The President makes the final decision whether to provide relief and the amount of relief.

  Section 201 does not require a finding of an unfair trade practice, as do the antidumping and countervailing duty laws and section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. However, the injury requirement under section 201 is considered to be more difficult than those of the unfair trade statutes. Section 201 requires that the injury or threatened injury be "serious" and that the increased imports must be a "substantial cause" (important and not less than any other cause) of the serious injury or threat of serious injury.

  Criteria for import relief under section 201 are based on those in article XIX of the GATT, as further defined in the WTO Agreement on Safeguards. Article XIX of the GATT is sometimes referred to as the escape clause because it permits a country to "escape" temporarily from its obligations under the GATT with respect to a particular product when increased imports of that product are causing or are threatening to cause serious injury to domestic producers. Section 201 provides the legal framework under U.S. law for the President to invoke U.S. rights under article XIX.

  When: The ITC conducts an investigation under section 201 upon receipt of a petition from a trade association, firm, certified or recognized union, or group of workers which is representative of a domestic industry; upon receipt of a request from the President or the USTR; upon receipt of a resolution of the House Committee on Ways and Means or Senate Committee on Finance; or upon its own motion.

  Duration: The ITC generally must make its injury finding within 120 days (150 days in more complicated cases) of receipt of the petition, request, resolution, or institution on its own motion and must transmit its report to the President, together with any relief recommendations, within 180 days after receipt of the petition, request, resolution, or institution on its own motion.

  Finding: If the ITC finding is affirmative, it must recommend a remedy to the President, who determines what relief, if any, will be imposed. Such relief may be in the form of a tariff increase, quantitative restrictions, or orderly marketing agreements.

  Follow-up: If import relief is provided, the ITC periodically reports on developments within the industry during the period of relief. Upon request, the ITC advises the President of the probable economic effect on the industry of the reduction, modification, or termination of the relief in effect. At the conclusion of any relief period, the ITC is required to report to the President and Congress on the effectiveness of the relief action in facilitating the positive adjustment of the domestic industry to import competition.

  If no mutually satisfactory solution is found after consultations…

  Well, if parties fail to reach consensus, Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO is the right place to go. The relevant agreements governing dispute settlement is the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes. With regard to safeguard measures, the relevant WTO agreement is the Agreement on Safeguards.

  We are to have a detailed discussion of these two agreements, in particular, the Agreement on Safeguards, which are of great interests and importance to China.

  上一篇:  经贸博览之四:欧元

  下一篇:  经贸博览之五:知识产权

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