|Asia News Digest
China Will Not Impose More Export Tariffs on Textiles
China will not implement another export tariff on 81 textile goods, nor on flax yarn, Xinhua reported May 30. "If some countries have imposed restrictive measures upon China's textile goods, then China needs to revoke export tariffs on these goods, because the country cannot make its textile export shoulder double pressures," Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said.
Bo later said that the enterprises in China will be treated fairly, and he questioned how China could have more export taxes on textiles while the EU and the U.S. have quotas on certain Chinese textiles. Xinhua news agency notes that this decision by China came shortly after the EU reimposed quotas on Chinese textiles.
Bo also notedand not for the first timethat the sudden rise of Chinese textile imports into the U.S. and Europe during the first quarter of the year, was due to the fact that those countries had not gradually eliminated the quotas on the textiles.
Japan High Court Okays Restart of Breeder Reactor
In a May 30 ruling, all five justices on Japan's Supreme Court supported the decision to restart Monju, a 280-megawatt fast-breeder reactor. This prototype breeder reactor is designed to create more plutonium fuel than it consumes. This is particularly important for Japan, which has no natural uraniumor other fuels such as oiland which now produces about 30 percent of its electricity from nuclear plants.
Monju, on Japan's northern coast, has been shut down since 1995, when there was a large leak of sodium coolant, caused by a defective thermocouple. A local court had blocked the restart in 2003, by ruling in favor of a lawsuit filed by local residents, and withdrawing the government's permission to operate the reactor. The Supreme Court reversed this decision.
The Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Corp., which runs Monju, has redesigned the faulty thermocouples and is ready to get the reactor working. The concept of the breeder reactor, which replenishes the nuclear fuel supply, particularly angers the Malthusians because it can make possible plentiful energy for economies and populations to grow. The Bush Administration destroyed the only U.S. breeder reactor, the Fast Flux Test Reactor in Hanford, Wash., last month. China, India, and the European nuclear countries are pursuing breeder technology.