Cover Story

Chinese companies' difficulties 'ignored'

Updated: 2011-07-01 10:32

By Yan Yiqi and Andrew Moody (China Daily European Weekly)

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Wu Jianfeng says he may stop exporting his company's ceramics products to Europe in the face of increasing protectionism.

His company, Hongyu Ceramics, sold around $3 million (2.2 million euros) worth of goods in Europe last year, making up around 10 percent of its turnover.

But a major hike in import duty on Chinese ceramic tiles from 5 to 73 percent from March imposed by the European Union may force the Foshan, Guangdong province-based company to seek other markets.

Wu, the company's general manager, says the duty was more than the company could easily absorb.

"We are considering quitting the European market because the import duty is far beyond our ability to withstand," he says.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, Chinese companies have been the victims of a number of protectionist measures.

It says the EU instigated 11 investigations into Chinese products last year, a 60 percent increase over 2009.

Wu says while China is accused of overprotecting its own industries, the difficulties Chinese companies face in overseas markets like the EU is often ignored.

"It is untrue and unfair for the EU to accuse us of dumping our products. Our price advantage comes from lower labor and logistics costs," he says.

The general manager also insists the new duties will be against the interests of both ceramic tile dealers and European consumers.

"They think they are protecting their domestic producers by imposing high import duties on Chinese ceramics. But what about their ceramic tiles dealers and consumers? This will be a lose-lose situation for them," he says.

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