[BRUSSELS] The European Commission has drawn more than 5,000 responses to its public consultation over trade ties with Beijing, with a large number of submissions from a steel sector concerned about cheap Chinese imports, according to a Commission source.
At issue is whether it grants China "market economy status"(MES) from December, which Beijing says is its right 15 years after joining the World Trade Organisation.
Market economy status would make it harder for Europe to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods sold at knock-down prices, changing the criteria for determining a fair price.
The Commission, which must come up with a proposal on China's MES, is expected to publish the contributions along with a summarising report in the coming weeks, the findings feeding into an impact assessment, which will look particularly at the effect on jobs per sector and per country.
The Commission is expected to discuss the matter by July and has three options: do nothing, grant China market economy status or grant the status with mitigating measures.
Its study calculated that up to 211,000 jobs could be at risk under the first option, far below that of a study for Aegis Europe, a grouping of industries opposed to easing trade defences, which sees potential jobs losses of 1.7 to 3.5 million.