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Brazil revives anti-dumping row with China
by Staff Writers
Brasilia, Brazil (UPI) Sep 7, 2011

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Brazil has revived its long-running anti-dumping feud with China as more Latin American nations warm up to the idea of an overarching trade pact that will grant Chinese exports special privileges in the Mercosur regional trade bloc.

Latin America's major commodity exporters, including Brazil and Argentina, have clashed with China frequently over anti-dumping issues as they struggle to compete with the East Asian giant on a vast range of products.

Steel is the biggest thorn in Brazil's side at the moment. In a measure designed to discourage Brazilian importers from stockpiling cheaper Chinese steel in preference over local or Latin American brands of the metal, the government intends to enforce higher duties retroactively.

A trade war with Beijing is on the horizon if the planned anti-dumping measure gets implemented.

China's reaction to the measure is awaited in Brasilia and by business circles but can be anticipated, analysts said. Beijing has been quick to find a retaliatory response in past trade conflicts with Latin American partners.

The anti-dumping duties, if implemented, will cover not only steel but such diverse steel-using items as bicycles and air conditioners. Officials said the duties may be imposed retroactively by 90 days.

The problem is linked to the Brazilian currency's soaring value which makes importing more attractive than before at the same time as Brazilian exporters struggle to keep foreign customers. The overvalued Brazilian real has proved to be a disincentive for importers of Brazilian goods.

The real has gained 40 percent against the U.S. dollar since the end of 2008 and complicated the Latin American country's efforts to keep growth at an even pace.

The duties will affect imports from China most strongly but will also impact on regional exporters and Mercosur partners Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The anti-dumping duty on Chinese steel tubing used in the oil and natural gas industries is likely to reach $743 a ton. Officials admitted about half of more than 80 anti-dumping measures introduced will directly affect Chinese products bought by Brazilian importers.

The Brazilian measure couldn't have been more ill-timed for Mercosur. Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman is headed for Beijing to pursue exploratory talks on concluding a free-trade agreement between Mercosur and China. Argentina and Brazil are the two largest of China's trade partners in Latin America.

More than trade, however, Latin American leaders have indicated they are interested in attracting China's surplus billions into Mercosur economies. Timerman said he would be pushing for a larger Chinese role in global economic and financial decision-making.

He said greater Chinese investment in Mercosur countries or the member countries of the Union of South American Nations could be a "smart move" by Beijing.

Mercosur members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, with Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru as associates, Mexico as an observer and Venezuela as the fifth full member awaiting ratification.

Unasur members are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela and Mexico and Panama as observers.

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Machinery tycoon tops China rich list
Shanghai (AFP) Sept 7, 2011 - A machinery tycoon topped a list of China's richest people released Wednesday, as the world's second biggest economy continues to create dollar billionaires despite the global crisis.

Many of those on the list compiled by the Hurun Report -- which publishes luxury magazines and runs a research institute -- made their money in China's construction and property sectors, as well as a growing domestic retail market.

"China's rich have defied the global financial crisis with another record year of growth," Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Report, said in a statement.

The list -- released annually -- records China's 1,000 richest people, though only the names of the top 50 were announced Wednesday.

The full ranking of China's 1,000 richest individuals included 271 dollar billionaires, up from 189 last year. The price of entry was $310 million, up from $220 million in 2010.

Liang Wengen, co-founder of machinery company Sany, came in first with a fortune of $11 billion, rising from fourth place as China's economic boom helped his firm grow from a welding materials factory into an industry giant.

Beverage magnate Zong Qinghou of the Wahaha company slipped to second place this year from first last year with wealth of $10.7 billion.

A Wahaha spokesman dismissed the ranking for the company's chairman.

"It doesn't matter whether he is on the list or not. We don't pay much attention to it," spokesman Shan Qining told AFP.

In third place was co-founder of China's top Internet search engine Baidu, Robin Li, at $8.8 billion.

Baidu, which accounts for three-quarters of Internet searches in China, has benefited from chief rival Google's partial move out of the market last year after a public spat with Beijing over censorship.

Another beverage magnate -- Yan Bin of the Ruoy Chai International Group, the Chinese owner of sales rights for energy drink Red Bull -- came in fourth with a fortune of $7.8 billion.

Of the top 50 people on the list, 29 of them counted property as one of the main sources of their wealth. Among the top ten, four were focused mainly on the real estate sector.

"There seems to be a relentless construction boom going on in China. Just about every tycoon is involved in the property market," compiler Hoogewerf told AFP.

These included the fifth and six members on the list -- Xu Jiayin, chief executive officer of Hong Kong-listed Evergrande Real Estate Group, and Wang Jianlin, chairman of commercial property developer Wanda.

China's richest woman was Wu Yajun of Longfor, another property company. She came in at number seven to take the crown from paper recycling queen Zhang Yin of Nine Dragons Paper, who dropped to 24th place this year.

The Hurun Report's annual rich list competes with another compiled by US magazine Forbes -- due out on Thursday.

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