China in Olympian Bid for Global Respect
Clouse, Thomas, Global Finance
China opened the 29th Olympic Summer Games in Beijing on August 8 with a ceremony incorporating 15,000 performers and 29,000 fireworks shells and attended by US president George Bush, French president Nicolas Sarkozy and other world leaders. China spent a recordbreaking $43 billion preparing for the games, with the country's leaders seeking to positively display the country's growing economic and political power. The intensified focus on the host county brought much praise for preparations and overall economic achievements as well as criticism for its human rights record.
Shortly before the games, however, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against China for the first time since the country joined the WTO in 2001. Currently, China charges a higher import tax on full automobiles than on automotive parts and requires automotive manufacturers to source at least 40% of their parts locally or face the higher taxation rate. The US, the EU and Canada complained that the practice discriminates against foreign-made parts. China, however, asserts that the tax prevents foreign manufacturers from circumventing the higher tax rate by importing automobiles in kits and assembling them domestically. …