GENEVA — Trading partners praised the European Union in a World Trade Organization forum for maintaining an open trade and investment regime, despite the financial and sovereign debt crises in some member states.
But, led by China, the EU was also faulted for resorting to targeted abuse of trade remedies, such as antidumping investigations, in order to shield problematic sectors from international competition.
“The fact there has not been a retreat into protectionism is in itself a positive sign,” said a report compiled by the WTO on the EU’s trade regime, which was reviewed by WTO members during a two-day forum that ended on Friday.
Peter Balas, the EU’s deputy director-general for trade, said the 28-country bloc represents about 17 percent of world trade in goods and more than 25 percent in commercial services, and has maintained a key role in global investment flows.
“All this despite the financial crisis and its unprecedented impact on the EU,” Balas said. “We remain open and are committed to remain open.”
Michael Punke, deputy U.S. Trade Representative, said the U.S. “values its trade and economic relationship with the EU immensely,” and noted that each day goods and services worth nearly $3 billion are traded across the Atlantic, or more than $9 million every five minutes.
During the proceedings, China and other delegations raised their objections about the heavy use of antidumping measures. Under global trade rules, dumping occurs when an exporter sells goods abroad at a lower price than they trade for in the home market or at below cost.
“We have serious concerns that the Chinese products are always a major target,” said Yi Xiaozhun, China’s WTO ambassador. “According to our calculations, the measures targeted at Chinese products account for more than 40 percent of the total measures imposed from 2008 to 2012. China is firmly opposed to abuse of trade remedy measures as a form of a handy trade protectionist tool.”
The WTO report notes that in 2012, the EU imposed 102 antidumping measures that included 48 against Chinese products, seven against India, four against Indonesia and two against the U.S.
Sources said in a closed-door session, a senior Chinese trade diplomat, Huang Rengang, and the EU’s Balas had a “hard, robust exchange” over antidumping, which Brussels maintains are initiated following complaints by industry.
In 2012, the EU’s merchandise exports were $2.1 trillion, or the same as the year before, and its imports reached $2.3 trillion, down 4 percent, according to WTO statistics.
The WTO report also shows that the EU, a major textiles and apparel exporter, imposes higher tariffs on imports of textiles and apparel. In 2012, for 850 textile category tariffs averaged 6.6 percent and 341 apparel line tariffs averaged 11.6 percent, compared with the 4.4 percent average rate for all industrial goods.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast