China will launch an inquiry into whether to impose countervailing duties on potato starch imports from the European Union, the commerce ministry said on Monday, its first such proposed action against the 27-nation bloc.
The ministry anounced the investigation on its website (www.mofcom.gov.cn), saying Beijing would examine the size of subisides for potato starch from the EU, its biggest trade partner, and whether they harm the Chinese industry.
The number of anti-dumping and countervailing cases initiated by China against other countries and vice-versa is rising, a sign of increasing trade friction following the global financial crisis.
Many of China's trade partners would like to see faster appreciation of the yuan, saying that an undervalued currency gives Chinese exporters an unfair competitive edge.
The United States has been particularly vocal in its criticism of China's currency policy, but the EU has also become more outspoken recently.
The EU thinks China has made only limited progress in allowing the yuan to appreciate and swifter action would help safeguard a fragile economic recovery, according to a draft G20 document obtained by Reuters.
Equities have been struggling in recent weeks due to the continuing standoff between the US and North Korea, which has been compounded by Thursday's terror attack in Barcelona.
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The company said the deal would make Total the second-largest operator in the North Sea, with substantial operations in Britain, Norway and Denmark.
Volatility eased as traders focused on the world economy and corporate earnings after a week dominated by the dramatic spike in tensions over North Korea, which triggered a global sell-off before prices bounced back Monday.
Investors greeted the more conciliatory tone after US stocks dropped three days in a row last week on President Donald Trump's vow of "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to pursue its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The ultra-conservative kingdom has moved to diversify its traditionally oil-dependent economy following a sharp fall in crude prices.
In its monthly report on the global oil market, the International Energy Agency said, however, that it believes the supply glut is easing, partly because demand is growing faster.
US stocks have been in retreat since President Donald Trump Tuesday issued a fiery warning to North Korea to halt its nuclear program.
The move by one of Japan's best-known firms greatly reduces the chance of an embarrassing delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE).
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index weakened by 0.5 percent to 7,503.39 points.
The approval by the European Commission comes just over two months after the European Central Bank -- which took on the role of the eurozone's banking supervisor in 2014 -- allowed the sale to go ahead for a symbolic fee of one euro.