China urges EU to refrain from telecom protectionism

Updated: 2012-06-01 10:41


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BRUSSELS - Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming here on Thursday urged the European Union (EU) to refrain from taking protectionist measures against Chinese telecom firms to avoid damaging the current "win-win situation."

"China hopes that the EU can stick to the consensus that no more protectionist measures should be rolled out, (as) agreed during the Group of 20 (G20) Summit," Chen said at a news conference after meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

Stressing that European telecom enterprises have been doing business in China for many years and that both sides reap huge economic benefits from cooperating, Chen said neither side wants to undermine the current "win-win situation."

Chen's remarks came as the EU is reportedly considering action against China's top telecoms gear makers Huawei and ZTE, citing that the two companies receive so-called "illegal state subsidies, " an allegation both firms have strongly denied.

"The two sides must exercise restraint in trade remedy measures through thorough exchanges and consultations. Otherwise, both sides are sure to be hurt," he said.

The minister also called upon the EU to create an open, equitable and fair environment for Chinese enterprises investing in Europe, adding that China is willing to join hands with the EU to launch negotiations on the China-Europe Investment Treaty to provide better and more equitable legal and institutional guarantees for investors from both sides.

China-EU economic relations complement rather than compete with each other, Chen said. By now, EU countries have invested a total of more than $80 billion in China, and European firms have reaped growth and profits in China, a sign of the attractiveness of China's investment environment, he said.

On the other hand, China has been encouraging its enterprises to invest in Europe, resulting in a total investment of $17 billion over the past years.

"The two sides can achieve a synergy effect by combining European firms' advantage in research and development and Chinese enterprises' manufacturing capabilities, and Chinese companies also have capabilities to invest in the infrastructure construction in Europe," Chen said.

Chen also expressed his concerns about restrictions on China's poultry exports to the EU and called upon the EU to take measures to ensure normal trade.

While praising the growing Europe-China trade volume and the increasing complementarity between the two economies, De Gucht said that Chinese companies are welcome in Europe and that the EU opposes investment barriers and discriminatory measures.