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Polluting exporters to face embargoes
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China will improve the supervision of Chinese exporters and ban exporting that causes pollution, said Zhang Lijun, vice director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, yesterday.

Environmental protection departments will set up a database to collect information on those exporters who violate environmental protection rules and also detail the efforts those exporting companies make to clean up their act, Zhang said.

No date was given for the start of these new regulations.

Zhang said the SEPA will improve the exchange of information with the Ministry of Commerce to strengthen the supervision of Chinese exporters.

The SEPA and MOC issued a notice earlier that exporters would be banned from trading abroad for one to three years if they were found to have seriously violated environmental protection rules, according to a notice issued the by the SEPA and MOC.

In the past the MOC would authorize local departments to suspend export-related applications of violating companies such as export quotas and licenses, contracts for processing, and applications for participating in national or regional trade fairs, based on reports from local environmental watchdogs.

Analysts said they were the most severe measures the MOC had adopted to crack down on environmental violations in the last four years.

The government also announced yesterday a timetable for the phaseout of outmoded plants as part of a national campaign to save energy and reduce pollution.

These firms fail to meet environmental protection standards and discharge requirements, the National Development and Reform Commission and the SEPA said in a joint statement.

In the paper-making industry, the country will outlaw outmoded factories with a total yearly production equal to 6.5 million tons during the 11th Five-Year Period ending 2010.

In the alcohol industry, 1.6 million tons will be eliminated in the years until 2010.

China also plans to do away with 200,000 tons of outdated capacity in monosodium glutamate industry and 80,000 tons in citric acid production in the period.

The government expects these moves to reduce COD, or chemical oxygen demand, emission by a total of more than 1.24 million tons.

The statement said local governments should enforce the shutdown of those enterprises which are included in the phaseout list but do not quit on schedule. Authorities can also cut power supply for the uncooperative.

Meanwhile, a government official yesterday hailed non-governmental organizations working in environmental protection as important players in policy making.

Zhou Jian, deputy director of the SEPA, praised the role of NGOs in China's environmental protection at the annual conference of Chinese NGOs in Beijing.

Currently, there are more than 2,700 environmental protection NGOs acting as a bridge between government and people.

(Xinhua News Agency, Shanghai Daily October 31, 2007)

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