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Chinese Firms Urged to Face EU's Charges
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The "silence is golden" philosophy is apparently one Chinese companies should not take in the face of anti-dumping charges, said a trade official.

Instead, Chinese companies, including those from Hong Kong and Macao, "should stand up to respond to anti-dumping charges launched by foreign companies to protect their interest by using legal tools," said Li Chenggang, deputy director of Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports and Exports of Ministry of Commerce.

Li issued these statements at a seminar held by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries held in Hong Kong yesterday. "If they opt to keep silent, they will lose the cases and consequently lose big markets," Li said.

In the largest anti-dumping case that the mainland ever faced, more than 100 Chinese furniture makers in 2004 that did not respond to an anti-dumping charge from US counterparts were imposed a punitive duties as high as 198.08 percent, said Li. That meant some of the companies were out of the US market for at least five years.

In comparison, those that did respond were ruled as "not dumping" or dumping at much lower margins.

Li's remarks came on the heels of anti-dumping accusations against the mainland's shoe and plastic bag manufacturers, who are fighting the allegations against the European Union.

Since the Chinese mainland joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in late 2001, its enterprises received 192 anti-dumping charges, three anti-subsidy charges, 33 safeguard measures and 18 special safeguard measures, data from the Ministry of Commerce shows.

The trade amount involved in these cases totalled millions of US dollars.

And that trend will likely be intensified in coming years, with the mainland's exports increasing dramatically.

"More such charges will be slashed on Chinese firms," Li said.

Internationally, some economies do not treat the mainland as a market economy, which puts it in a disadvantageous position in handling trade remedy cases.

Domestically, Li said, the mainland's exports composition was a factor that may have triggered trade frictions, as its exports feature low added value and cheaper prices.

Price wars in domestic markets have squeezed a number of manufacturers and driven them to export, which subsequently caused a drop in export prices.

To rectify the situation, Li said Chinese firms should operate under the market-orientated mode and pay attention to social accountability.

(China Daily March 1, 2006)

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