Equité et libre-échange

CAMBRIDGE – Le systéme de commerce mondial va être confronté à un choix crucial à la fin de l'année, un choix qui n'a pas été fait lorsque la Chine a rejoint l'Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC) il y a presque 15 ans. Les USA et l'UE doivent décider s'ils continuent à considérer la Chine comme une "économie autre que de marché" (NME, non-market economy) ou s'ils lui accordent le statut d'économie de marché dans le cadre de leurs échanges commerciaux. Malheureusement, alors que la bataille s'intensifie autour de cette question, le choix est posé en des termes tels qu'ils empêchent de remédier aux vices de construction du systéme de commerce international.

Signé en décembre 2001, l'accord qui a permis à la Chine de rejoindre l'OMC autorisait ses partenaires commerciaux à la considérer comme une "économie autre que de marché" pendant une durée maximale de 15 ans. Ce statut facilite l'imposition d'une taxe contre le dumping (prix de vente d'une marchandise inférieur à son coût de production) aux produits importés de Chine. En particulier, ils peuvent faire référence aux coûts de production dans les pays plus riches en lieu et place des véritables coûts chinois, augmentant ainsi à la fois la probabilité de conclure à un dumping et sa marge estimée.

Aujourd'hui, bien que de nombreux pays (notamment l'Argentine, le Brésil, le Chili et la Corée du Sud) aient déjà accordé à la Chine le statut d'économie de marché, les deux premières puissances économiques mondiales, les USA et l'UE, ne l'ont pas fait. Par ailleurs, les mesures antidumping, aussi fondées soient-elles, ne sont pas adaptées pour combattre les pratiques commerciales inéquitables, car leurs conséquences vont bien au-delà de la question du prix. Elles vont dans le sens du pire protectionnisme qui soit et ne font rien en faveur des pays qui auraient besoin d'une marge de manœuvre en matière de politique commerciale.

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