Brussels: EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht has accused the US administration of having a protectionist agenda and reiterated concerns that China is manipulating its currency. Taking aim at US protectionism, the Belgian politician squarely put the blame on Washington for stalling the Doha round of multilateral free-trade talks.
|EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht|
"One of the problems is that we don't know exactly what the United States wants. They don't want to go forward for now, that much is clear," he said in an interview with Belgian business daily De Tijd. The Doha talks have been ongoing for close on to a decade.
Commenting on president Barack Obama's pledge to double US exports over five years, De Gucht said, "I don't see how anyone can double exports if there's no movement towards free trade."
"Protectionism will not lead to a doubling of exports."
He also described EADS dropping out of the race to secure a US Air Force tanker contract on allegations that the tendering process was skewed in favour of American firm Boeing as being ''highly regrettable'' and vowed to continue to monitor the contract award.
De Gucht will be part of an entourage of EU commissioners heading to China next month to discuss the currency issue and trade-related concerns.
"The yuan is under-priced," Gucht told the Financial Times. "It certainly has an impact on their [US] export and trade patterns. The complaint is legitimate and there is awareness of that in Europe."
Businesses around the world are persisting with their complaints that Chinese exports gain an unfair advantage due to an artificially low yuan and in recessionary times governments are finding it difficult to brush these complaints under the carpet.