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US Team Comes to Check TV Costs

Domestic TV manufacturers are hoping that an investigation to be conducted by US officials might result in a change in attitude towards dumping charges against China's TV producers.

An investigation panel sent by the US Department of Commerce has visited the Sichuan Changhong Electric Co and the Xiamen Overseas Chinese Electronic Co (Xoceco).

The group will go to another two TV makers -- Konka Group Co and TCL Holding Co -- later this month.

The US officials have been sent to China to check the production costs of local TV makers.

The four companies were selected to respond to the US Department of Commerce in its investigations into alleged dumping of Chinese-manufactured color TVs, as it does not have the resources to investigate all 12 companies involved in the case.

After assessment by the US Department of Commerce team, the firms will be given dumping margin prices based on their own specific situations.

The firms not being investigated will be subject to the overall anti-dumping charges levied against China's color TV producers as a whole.

On November 24, the US Department of Commerce said in a preliminary ruling that some Chinese television makers are dumping their products at prices 27.94 percent to 78.45 percent lower than prices in the field in the US market.

"They are coming to check some original data to see whether their calculations are right or not,'' said a company spokesman, who refused to be named.

"They gave us an investigation list, requiring us to provide original certification of production costs, commodity prices and staff salaries,'' he said.

He said domestic TV manufacturers have made full preparations for the investigation.

"We expect this trip can help change their preliminary ruling on our costs, which is entirely unjustified,'' he said.

"According to my knowledge, our costs are even lower than those of the Malaysian company involved in the case,'' he said.

But the US Department of Commerce dismissed the dumping complaint against a Malaysian television set exporter.

Legal experts say it is questionable whether the United States will accept the costs offered by local companies, even if they are true.

By defining China as a non-market economy, the US anti-dumping authorities use costs of production in a surrogate country, where material and labor costs are much higher than those in China, to calculate the normal value of Chinese exports.

This time, the United States chose India as the surrogate country despite the fact China's TV industry is more competitive and operates as a full market economy.

Local companies claim they import raw materials from Japan and United States and then export the TV sets back to the United States, so that their profit lies in the processing fees.

The US Department of Commerce will hold a hearing with the four TV manufacturers before it hands out its final ruling April 12 next year.

Domestic TV makers have established a special group to communicate with the US Department of Commerce, the group members being professionals in finance, law, materials sourcing and production.

(China Daily December 11, 2003)

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