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TV Makers Face US Dumping Duties

Chinese television makers are scrambling to minimize losses in the face of new US import tariffs, but analysts advise seeking long-term, comprehensive strategies rather than taking the "Bandaid-and-an-aspirin" approach to solve the problem.

The United States Department of Commerce announced on Saturday that dumping duties will be levied on Chinese color television sets beginning in early June, which marks the conclusion of a year-long process that began last May.

Although Chinese TV makers could appeal to the US Court of International Trade, analysts say there is little hope of changing the decision. They have advised manufacturers to ship their goods to other markets, export them from facilities outside of China or export more high-end products, which are exempt from the additional duty.

Shocked by the ruling, manufacturers are seeking ways to soften its impact. Hisense, a leading digital TV producer based in Qingdao, Shandong Province, plans export more high-end TV sets to the US.

Some television makers, including TCL, Konka and Skyworth, have set up production bases in Mexico, a member of the North American free trade zone, reportedly to avoid the US anti-dumping charges.

Analysts also advise Chinese manufacturers to look for cooperative ventures with overseas partners.

But, the analysts note, such moves are only temporary measures. The real solution lies in upgrading the industrial structure and strengthening technology.

Luo Qingqi, senior director of Pully Consulting, which monitors the household electrical appliance industry, said Chinese makers should adopt a long-term strategy instead of blindly grabbing for temporary measures to offset losses.

A Tennessee electrical appliance company, Five Rivers Electronic Innovations, and two US trade unions representing television assembly workers filed the anti-dumping petition last May.

In November, the US ruled against the Chinese TV makers in a preliminary decision, which dramatically dragged down Chinese TV exports to the United States.

(China Daily May 24, 2004)

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