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Nearly 100 trade probes against China in 2014: government

[BEIJING] China's trade partners launched nearly 100 investigations into its exports last year, Beijing said on Thursday, blaming rising protectionism due to a lacklustre global recovery and the country's growing economic clout.

The Asian powerhouse was targeted by 22 countries and regions with 97 trade probes, including 61 anti-dumping cases and 14 anti-subsidy investigations, commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said.

"To a certain extent, the intense trade friction is a by-product of China becoming the world's biggest trading country in goods and second-largest economy," he told reporters at a briefing.

He also put it down to governments strengthening protection of their own domestic industries at a time when the world economy is lacking momentum.

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The number of trade investigations targeting Chinese products was expected to "continue to be high" this year as manufacturers become ever more competitive, he added.

Products affected last year ranged from wind power generators to mobile phones and food, he said.

A 2013 trade row with China over solar panels sparked the EU's biggest-ever trade probe covering a market worth some 21 billion euros (S$34 billion) at its zenith.

Last month, EU trade authorities opened an investigation into alleged Chinese dumping of solar glass, a key component of solar panels.

"China hopes the European side will strictly comply with the law in their investigation, give Chinese companies adequate chances to defend themselves and... come to a fair and just ruling," Shen said.