A draft proposal by the European Union (EU) to ensure all cheap cigarette lighters are childproof has been branded unfair by the Chinese Government.
While China attaches great importance to consumer safety, it feels the scheme - in which lighters costing less than 2 euros (US$1.74) are required to be equipped with childproof locks or switches - is discriminatory against the mass of Chinese manufacturers.
Such price-oriented rules clearly pose barriers to free trade, said an official with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation (MOFTEC) yesterday.
If passed in the EU, the proposal could severely harm China's export of lighters to the market, since almost all lighters priced fewer than 2 euros on the EU market are from China.
The Chinese Government is paying close attention to its first dispute of Technical Barriers to Trade following its entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December.
According to MOFTEC, an industry delegation, led by MOFTEC, has been to Europe to negotiate with representatives of EU and its member countries.
(China Daily April 13, 2002)