Economists Urge Stricter Standards to Protect Environment

China is being urged to develop more environmentally friendly production in order to cope with stricter foreign environmental standards, which is becoming a major barrier to Chinese exports, especially with the country's imminent entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), experts have said.

The remark was made yesterday by economists participating in the 100th anniversary of the introduction of Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" in 1901, the starting point of economics in China.

Some 100 economists from across the country attended the meeting held Tuesday.

Li Boxi, a senior researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, said that after China enters the WTO, foreign markets will probably open their doors further to cheap Chinese products. Strict environment requirements are in place however, in developed countries and there would be major non-tariff barriers to impede Chinese exports.

To make matters worse, the Chinese government and enterprises have not staked enough importance on environment-related matters or the rising import standards in the environment, especially in the European Union (EU), said Li at the first China Economics Annual Conference, hosted by Peking University's, China Center for Economic Research.

In recent years, governments in developed countries have made the environment element the most important standard to evaluate product qualities. In such conditions, more Chinese exports are refused due to their low environment qualification.

In China, lower environmental standards lead many manufacturers to neglect some particular environment requirement. More than 70 percent of Chinese product standards are environmentally lower than those of the EU.

Another threat is that growing calls for better environmental standards among Chinese consumers will increase the competitiveness of better environmentally equipped foreign products in the Chinese market, Li said.

She recommended that the government should first make stricter environment requirements for products, whether they are exports or domestic products.

Earlier this year, the government launched an ambitious plan to produce 5,000 new agricultural standards within the next three years, but in other industries, the pace is still slow.

(China Daily 10/17/2001)

In This Series

More Measures to Protect Environment Soon

International Cooperation in Protecting Environment

China, EU Contribute Millions to Environmental Protection

China Moves to Protect Environment in Western Region

Environment Protection a Priority in Water Project


Ecological Initiatives Get Boost

China Offers More Transparent Investment Environment

Six Key Ecological Projects Outlined

Heavily Polluted City Improves Environment


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