Beijing bristles over Huawei probe

17 May 2013

Plans for the European Union (EU) to open an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy case against China have provoked a strong response from Beijing, which threatened to take ‘firm measures’, Reuters reports. The case relates to claims that equipment makers Huawei and ZTE were using government subsidies to offer goods and services at unfairly low prices within the EU. The complaints were brought forward by the European Commission (EC) rather than Huawei and ZTE’s EU-based rivals, which have suffered as a result of the importing of cheap imports from China. Indeed, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) have refused to make a formal complaint, hindering the EC’s efforts to gather evidence. The trio are reluctant to push for action in Europe that may harm their prospects of expansion in China, particularly with China Mobile on the verge of handing out contracts worth a total of around CNY40 billion (USD6.47 billion) for the supply of equipment for its Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) network.

Shen Danyang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said of the case: ‘If the European side insists on opening an investigation, the Chinese side will according to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and Chinese Law take firm measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests, and the consequences must be borne by the party provoking the friction.’ Shen added that China had put forward proposals on the matter during a recent visit by an EU delegation, but had not received any response: ‘This makes one cast doubt on the sincerity of the EU to resolve conflicts through consultations.’ Brussels has levelled similar accusations at Beijing, however, with officials describing the Chinese response as disappointing. John Clancy, an EU trade spokesman added that: ‘The EC counts on our Chinese partners to take up the offer of negotiations in a serious manner to find an amicable solution to resolve this situation.’