CHINA> National
Alstom's call for boycott of train export groundless
Updated: 2009-01-06 21:55

BEIJING - Chinese train makers have rejected French counterpart Alstom's accusation of stealing Western technologies, saying that Alstom's call for boycott of Chinese train export is groundless, according to Tuesday's Global Times.

Alstom chief executive Philippe Mellier told the Financial Times that trains exported by China used technologies stolen from West and that China has blocked biddings by foreign manufacturers.

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"If Alstom really made the remark to media, the only explanation is that the company is depressed (by its declining businesses)", the Chinese newspaper quoted an unnamed senior official from a domestic train manufacturer as saying.

Foreign companies had gained commercial benefits from joint technology development projects while Chinese partners own the technologies acquired in this process, the Chinese official said.

He added that there were no items in these contracts that prevent the Chinese partners from exporting their products to the third party.

The fact is Chinese has never exported high-speed train technologies that involve technical cooperation with Japanese, French and German manufacturers, the official said.

Trains exported by China to Malaysia and African countries can only run at 160 kilometers per hour and they use much older technologies, he said.

Chinese officials also rejected the accusation of closing its market to foreign manufacturers.

They pointed to the fact that all the major train manufacturers have entered the Chinese market. Alstom itself won an order to supply 500 locomotives to China in March 2007, in collaboration with a Chinese firm.

In contrast, other major markets, including Europe, the United State and Russia have all remained closed to Chinese manufacturers.

The European Union has repeatedly blocked Chinese firms from its market. Hungary once stroke a deal with a Chinese firm, but the European Union refused the approve it, the officials said.

Wang Gongcheng, the deputy chief economist of China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation (CSR), said China's railway equipment export has been growing quickly in recent years, because Chinese manufacturers have advanced technologies and cheaper production costs.

It's natural for foreign firms to have a smaller chunk of the Chinese market because the growth of their Chinese rivals, one industrial sources said. "You can not accuse China of closing its market just because you failed to get an order here."