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TV Exports to EU Resume
A shipment of 1,600 made-in-China color television sets left Xiamen port for Britain yesterday, the first batch of Chinese TV sets exported to the European market after the lifting of a ban on their exports by the European Union.

Xiamen Overseas Chinese Electronic Co. Ltd., a major manufacturer of color television sets in the Chinese mainland, became the first Chinese TV maker to take advantage of the ban's lifting, while another six domestic makers also have plans to resume exports to Europe in the near future.

In August, the European Union dropped a ban on imported Chinese TV sets after two years of negotiations. The ban was imposed following charges of dumping against Chinese manufacturers.

With the ban no longer in place, seven of China's largest TV manufacturers can sell 400,000 sets a year to the EU, which will still impose a "floor price" on each TV set to prevent dumping.

The seven domestic TV makers are Sichuan Changhong Electronic Co. Ltd., TCL Holdings Co., Haier Group Co., Hisense Group Crop., Konka Group Co., Skyworth Group and Xiamen Overseas.

However, some industry officials said the opening of the EU market does not signal the end of business disputes and trade restrictions.

"We now can sell our TV sets in the EU market, thanks mostly to China's WTO entry. But what will follow would be many more tough matters such as royalty issues," said an official of Sichuan Changhong.

From this year European rivals shifted their attention to royalty and other issues.

France-based Thomson Multimedia, a manufacturer of audio-video products in Europe, asked Chinese TV makers to pay royalties, at around US$1 per set, for using some of its patent technologies in TV production. Negotiations are still going on.

"More endeavors are needed to solve a series of problems such as quota, floor prices and royalty, to phase out trade protectionism," said Huang Zhongtian, an official with Konka Group Co.

In 1988, the EU began investigating accusations of dumping against Chinese and South Korean TV makers, while its 15 member nations produced only half of the 20 million-25 million sets sold annually in Europe.

(eastday.com November 27, 2002)

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