EU drafts law in response to China protectionism

FRANKFURT: The European Union is drafting a law in response to Chinese protectionism in public markets, EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht told the German Focus magazine in an interview.

“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,” he said.

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, said Focus.

De Gucht criticised China for what he called “nationalist commercial practices”, “massive subsidies” and “monopolistic access to raw materials”.

“All of this makes it very difficult to do business there,” the commissioner said.

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.

The WTO’s appeal organ is due to make a ruling on a challenge by China, which was found guilty by the body last year for restricting exports of raw materials crucial for European industry. – AFP

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