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Favoring foreign products 'improper'
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It was "improper" to consider only foreign brands when calling for public tenders in governmental procurements, Guangzhou's vice-mayor said yesterday.

Vice-mayor Su Zequn was responding to a complaint from Wang Ruixiang, a deputy to the city's people's congress who also runs an audio systems firm, against the organizers of the 2010 Asian Games for shutting out domestic brands from a bidding process.

"I will personally look into the case," Su said.

He said he learned of the complaint during this year's people's congress of Guangzhou, which concludes today.

"Although my audio products won the bid for this year's Olympic Games in Beijing, I'm not even entitled to submit a bid for the Asian Games in Guangzhou, for the simple reason that my product is domestically made," Wang said earlier.

The organizing committee of the Asian Games has not responded to Wang's complaint.

The businessman said he had encountered similar embarrassment when he tried to bid for government procurements.

"If we are not given a fair opportunity to compete in the domestic market, how can we grow strong enough to compete in the global market?" he said.

Many shared Wang's view.

"Domestic firms, especially small and medium enterprises, are in a very unfavorable position to get financial support for research and development," Shi Jun, owner of a lighting firm in Guangzhou, said.

Li Qingqing, an associate professor of economics at South China Normal University, said China has a law that urges governmental procurements to foster SME brands.

"The only problem is that it is not easy to supervise or punish government departments when they fail to comply with it," Li said.

(China Daily, February 22, 2008)

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