Tuesday

27th Feb 2024

Failure to win contracts is fault of EU firms, says China

  • EU firms have had particular difficulty winning wind energy contracts (Photo: CE)

A spokesman for the Chinese ministry for foreign affairs told EUobserver on Sunday (13 September) that any failure by European firms to win contracts under China's stimulus plan was due to their lack of competitiveness.

Mr Qin Gang denied his government favoured Chinese companies when awarding lucrative contracts under the country's stimulus plan, contrary to opposite claims by a number of European business groups.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Foreign investors must come to China in a more aggressive and competitive form [if they are to win the contacts]," said Mr Qin. "Nobody wants to buy white elephants."

China's four trillion yuan (€400 billion) stimulus plan announced last November has received praise from many in the international community as an important measure to help boost the Asian economy, with positive knock-on effects for the rest of the world.

However Europe's main business lobby group, BusinessEurope, recently sent a letter to EU trade commissioner Catherine Ashton, complaining that new rules appeared to limit purchases by the Chinese government to companies that are at least 50 percent Chinese-owned.

"We are deeply concerned that these new provisions could have a domino effect on protectionism globally," wrote the group's chief executive Philippe de Buck.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China recently expressed a similar view, saying China fails to treat local and foreign companies equally in the public procurement process.

Wind energy is proving to be a particularly hard sector for foreign companies to crack, says the chamber, with developers required to make 70 percent of their parts in China.

But Mr Qin denied the Chinese government was using protectionist measures to give an unfair advantage to domestic turbine producers and related manufacturers.

"We also have Chinese companies making windmills," he said. "At the end of the day, it's [a question of] value for money."

Warning to France

Separately, Mr Qin warned France to pull back on proposals for a carbon tax on imports entering into the European Union, aimed at complementing a newly unveiled carbon tax on fossil fuels products in France.

"We need to impose a carbon tax at [Europe's] borders. I will lead that battle," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said last week while visiting a factory in the east of the country.

Mr Qin indicated that China strongly opposed such measures, saying: "we would regard that as another form of protectionism."

The US decision on Friday night to raise tariffs on imports of car and light truck tyres from China has also come under fire.

Under pressure from the powerful United Steelworkers union, US President Barack Obama slapped a 35 percent tariff on the tyre imports for the coming year, falling to 30 percent in the second year, and 25 percent in the third.

"We are against it firmly and it is not in the interest of the US," said Mr Qin. "It sends out a very bad signal and sets a very bad precedent."

Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist

Hungary failed to get three Russian and three Chinese names deleted, as the EU approved its 13th package of sanctions ahead of an anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Feature

Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza

Despite the high risk of dying from war, starvation or disease, Gazans are still not allowed to enter Egypt. Except those who bribe the authorities. And the EU mission EUBAM Rafah cannot be deployed due to security reasons.

Opinion

For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive

The EU Commission's 2022 CSDDD proposal did not include provisions incorporating "conflict due diligence", they were added, after the Russian invasion, by the European Parliament and Council into the final directive text — for Ukraine's sake, vote for it.

Latest News

  1. For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive
  2. All of Orbán's MPs back Sweden's Nato entry
  3. India makes first objection to EU carbon levy at WTO summit
  4. Angry farmers block Brussels again, urge fix to 'unfair' prices
  5. Luxembourg denies blind spot on Nato security vetting
  6. Record rate-profits sees EU banks give shareholders €120bn
  7. Why the EU silence on why Orban's €10bn was unblocked?
  8. Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us