The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) sounded the alarm on overseas technical trade barriers against China's exports while vowing to enhance countermeasures.
Wang Hui, director of MOFCOM's Science and Technology Department, said China would make full use of the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and fight tit-for-tat against discriminatory and improper overseas technical barriers.
He suggested domestic companies should be encouraged to adopt advanced international standards, acquire international certifications and play an active part in the decree and revision of international standards and rules.
Competitive industries, including tea, Chinese medicine and silk, should try to promote national and industrial standards around the world, so as to establish their advantageous position on the international market, said Wang.
Low-quality products should not be allowed to sell to other countries as these destroy the image of Chinese commodities, he added.
Wang said MOFCOM is working hard to improve its information service system through closely monitoring foreign technical trade measures and giving timely advice on countermeasures to guide domestic companies' risk evasion.
The latest MOFCOM investigation indicates foreign technical trade barriers are having an increasingly bad effect on China's exports.
MOFCOM investigated 21 categories of export commodities in six industries across the country, including food stuffs, native produce and animal by-products, light industry products, machinery and electronic products, textiles, minerals, metals and chemicals and medicines and medicare products.
The method combines sampling and case studies.
The last investigation into the impact of technical barriers on Chinese exports was conducted in 2000 by sampling.
The latest investigation shows 71 percent of Chinese exporters and 39 percent of Chinese commodities ran into technical barriers with estimated total losses of US$17 billion in 2002, or 5.2 percent of the country's total exports that year.
These figures were up five percentage points, 14 percentage points, US$6 billion and 0.7 percentage points respectively on the results of the 2000 investigation.
Technical trade barriers set up by the European Union, the United States and Japan accounted for 95 percent of the losses.
These technical barriers hit labor-intensive products especially badly. About 90 percent of exporters of food stuffs, native produce and animal by-products suffered losses of US$9 billion last year.
Meanwhile, technical barriers against Chinese exports of high-tech products and machinery and electronic products are on the rise.
South China's Guangdong Province, East China's Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong provinces and Shanghai Municipality each suffered losses of over US$1 billion due to foreign technical trade barriers, the investigation revealed.
(China Daily June 11, 2003)