01/30/2012, 00.00
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EU ready to counter Chinese ‘protectionism’

Whilst Chinese companies have full access to European markets, their European counterparts do not have the same access in China. Brussels plans counter measures.
Brussels (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The European Union is drafting a law in response to Chinese protectionism in public markets, EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said. Such a step would counter unfair competition, which has helped China to grow so fast.

“My colleague, internal market commissioner Michel Barnier, and I are preparing a draft law on public markets so that we can respond if the Chinese continue to deny European companies access to certain segments of the market,” De Gucht is quoted as saying in an interview published on Monday with the German Focus magazine.

The law would also make it possible for the European Commission to close access to public markets to Chinese companies in return. The draft should be ready by March, the magazine said.

De Gucht criticised China for what he called “nationalist commercial practices”, “massive subsidies” and “monopolistic access to raw materials”. For the commissioner, “All of this makes it very difficult to do business there”.

China has never been keen on opening up its potentially huge government procurement markets. Negotiations for China's adhesion to a World Trade Organisation government procurement agreement have stalled on Beijing's refusal to allow EU firms the same access to public markets as that enjoyed by Chinese companies in Europe.
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