chinas-freetrade-credentials-under-the-spotlight

ChinaÆs free-trade credentials under the spotlight

Fear of worldwide protectionism grows, but ChinaÆs anti-monopoly law might lead to more transparent commercial practices.

The more China is attacked by Western governments for unfair trade practices or hostile behaviour towards foreign businesses, the more it seems keen to defy them. The detention of four Rio Tinto executives on July 5, allegedly for spying and broader accusations of bribery during the Anglo-Australian mining company's negotiations with China's steel companies over iron ore prices, has taken the issue to a new level. It's as if the Chinese authorities are continually raising the stakes, knowing that the response will be belligerent words but appeasement in action.

Yet, it is arguably too easy to paint China as the pantomime villain. Although its legal system is widely considered opaque, China has had an anti-monopoly...

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