Trade barriers a growing menace

Updated: 2011-12-07 07:59

By Zhou Wenting (China Daily)

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A third of nation's exporting firms suffered losses from protectionism

BEIJING - Chinese companies are suffering rising economic losses from technical barriers to trade (TBT) set up by other countries, and experts warn the country is going to be the major victim of TBT in the coming years.

Direct economic losses caused by TBT, affecting nearly one-third of exporting enterprises in the country, added up to $58.2 billion last year, more than twice the figure in 2005, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

"Moreover, because of rising global trade protectionism since the financial crisis and China's status as the world's largest exporter as well as the second-largest economy, the country will undoubtedly be the major target of trade protectionism in the next few years," said Liu Xu, an official with the foreign economics research institute of the National Development and Reform Commission.

"On one hand, developed economies attempt to suppress China's economic development for their own interests," Liu said. "On the other hand, the competition between China and other burgeoning nations becomes more evident."

The country should be fully aware of the negative effects and chain reactions caused by trade protection measures adopted by developed nations, and take the initiative to fight back, experts said.

They encourage businesses with strong innovation capacity to increase their independent research and development.

Haier, China's largest home-appliance maker, has done well in avoiding trade barriers by integrating innovation and patent protection into the production process.

"A total of 51 proposals for international standards have been put forward by our group, 27 of which have been recognized as international standards," said Shu Hai, vice-president of Haier White Goods Group.

"The business's participation in formulating and revising international standards has earned it the right to speak for Chinese enterprises in the international arena," he said.