Indigenous innovation urged

09:59, May 12, 2010      

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A country must foment technological innovation in order to develop its industries, a Chinese expert affirmed Tuesday when addressing repeated requests for China to roll back technical innovation policies.

When the consultation period concluded Monday for the draft criteria of Chinese indigenous innovative products, some business groups from the US, Europe and Canada in a joint statement also called on China "not to carry forward" the plan outlined in November, as it alledgedly allows government procurement preference for products containing indigenous innovation.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, also a member of the annual Sino-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, to be held in Beijing later this month, added his concerns about the innovation policy last week.

"I have as many businesses concerned right now about indigenous innovation as I do about currency," Kirk said.

Citing industry sources, a Tencent report in late April disclosed that multinational corporations at present account for the majority of China's govern-ment procurement market for technological products, worth more than $1 billion.

China's pending innovation policy concerns not only the direct economic interests of US firms, but also the competitiveness of the US as a whole, which explains why business groups and some government agencies focus on the program to exert as much pressure as possible on China, He Weiwen, Deputy Director of the China Institute for Open Economy, at the University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times.

"To launch technological innovation is a set path for China in order to forge its own competitiveness," He said, adding that the innovation process should abide by relevant international rules and differing opinions should resort to dialogue so as to understand each others' requests.

According to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), governments should not discriminate against foreign products, with some conditions as exceptions to permit certain preference for domestic producers.

But as a non-GPA member, China's related regulations are laid out in accordance with the Chinese Government Procurement Law, which came into force in 2003, under which foreign firms registered in China are not excluded from participation in government procurement, He said.

In late April, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao also reiterated Beijing's pledge that foreign companies with operations in China would be treated equally under the new policy.

"The policy that is designed to encourage indigenous innovation will treat all enterprises that operate on Chinese soil as equals," Wen said. "It will not exclude foreign enterprises."

Many concerns were aired during the one-month consultation period, and relevant ministries will carefully review them to perfect the indigenous innovation product identification process, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement on its website Monday.

Source: Global Times


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