Stephen Kho Quoted in China Business Law Journal on Trade Tensions with China

China Business Law Journal has quoted Akin Gump international trade partner Stephen Kho in its article “A Fraction Too Much Friction” about the growing tensions between China and its trade partners. The article, citing Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce, says that during the first eight months of 2016, 20 countries launched 85 trade investigations into China’s exports at a combined value of $10.3 billion—a year-on-year increase of 94 percent. The United States and the European Union, the article notes, have accused China of flooding markets with excess steel, thereby putting pressure on global prices.

Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures, as the article reports, are the top barriers to international trade for Chinese exporters doing business with the United States and Europe. Kho said exporters need to be more sophisticated. “There are a lot of rules involved with exporting products,” he said. “Internationally, for example, understanding how the rules of origin work, how it affects your product, and how it affects your tariffs will set you apart.” He continued, “A lot of Chinese manufacturers probably aren’t aware of the benefits that could be had by looking at the supply chain and taking advantage of more favorable trade agreements that third countries have with the U.S.”

Kho, who advises U.S. clients looking for Chinese suppliers, also pointed to the issue of the middle man. “Not only are you dealing with the seller, you’re often dealing with this middle exporting company, so it’s difficult to gauge the relationships, know who’s doing what and who’s accountable to who,” he said, adding that the perception of Chinese exporters is getting better.