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China clarifies manufacturing plan after EU group criticism

(Xinhua)    10:48, March 11, 2017
China clarifies manufacturing plan after EU group criticism
Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, answers questions at a press conference on "Made in China 2025" plan for the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 11, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Xin)

Chinese regulator on Saturday offered detailed clarifications on the "Made in China 2025" plan, saying that accusation by a European business group of discrimination against foreign firms is a misunderstanding.

"The strategy and its related policies are applicable to all businesses in China, be them domestic or foreign," Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, said at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.

The remarks came after a lengthy report from the European Union (EU)Chamber of Commerce claimed that China's support for high-tech manufacturing would lead to worsening treatment for foreign companies, while allowing government-subsidized homegrown players to compete unfairly.

The report said foreign suppliers of electric cars and other goods are under pressure to turn over technology to China.

Miao refuted the accusation, saying entry policies in sectors such as new energy vehicles are not only targeting foreign firms, but domestic businesses alike.

The intention of such policies is to prevent some businesses from cheating on government subsidies, not forcing foreign firms to transfer technologies, Miao explained.

As for the targets set for the market share of domestic brands in some sectors, Miao said the government is not "deliberately seeking" such goals when drafting the plan.

Most of the the targets quoted by the EU group are not in the government plan, but in a greenpaper issued by an expert consultation panel, and the panel had made it clear from the beginning that such targets are of predictive nature, not mandatory, Miao added.

The ultimate aim of the "Made in China 2025" plan is to satisfy domestic demand for high-end equipment and industrial goods as Western countries still imposed export bans on some of the products to China, he said.

"While allowing the market to play its decisive role in developing economy, the government is also playing a role of guidance, which is an international practice," the minister said.

To boost domestic manufacturing, the EU, the United States and Germany have all come up with similar plans in recent years, Miao said, hoping for more bilateral and multilateral exchanges and cooperation in the area.

China introduced the "Made in China 2025" blueprint in May 2015, listing several tasks for the high-tech manufacturing industry, including boosting innovation, fostering Chinese brands and service-oriented manufacturing.

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(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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