Vendors fear Chinese protectionism

11 December 2009

11 December 2009 | Jake Kanter

Global suppliers have written to the Chinese government complaining about a “protectionist” procurement rule.

The heads of 34 trade associations, representing a wide range of companies and industries, said they were deeply troubled by the country’s plans to introduce an “indigenous innovation product accreditation” system.

Under the proposal tabled last month, Chinese public sector buyers would give preference to specially certified goods. To gain accreditation, the intellectual property of a product must be developed and owned in China and the trademark must also be registered in the country.

In a strongly worded letter to the Chinese ministers of science, technology and finance yesterday, the group said: “This system will restrict China’s capacity for innovation, impose onerous and discriminatory requirements on companies seeking to sell into the Chinese government procurement market, and contravene multiple commitments of China’s leadership to resist trade and investment protectionism.”

They urged the government not to proceed with the rule and sought an opportunity to exchange views on the matter.

Representatives of technology suppliers expressed particular concern. John Neuffer, vice president of global policy at the Information Technology Industry Council, whose members include Sony, Cisco Systems and Dell, said the proposal was “unworkable”.

The scheme “veers markedly from global approaches” and may “slow China's technological development”, he said.

Earlier this year, the Chinese government rejected claims it introduced "protectionist" measures in its 4.5 trillion yuan (£400 billion) economic stimulus package.

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