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Commission's sly probes will not benefit EU: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2024-05-15 20:55
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As the result of a European Commission probe being allowed by the Foreign Subsidies Regulation, two China-related companies have announced their withdrawal from the procurement procedure of a 110 megawatt solar park in Romania. The park is partially financed by the European Union.

It is the second time such an investigation has prompted a Chinese company's pullout from a tender. At the end of March, a Chinese company had to give up its bid to supply trains to Bulgaria.

The fact that other non-EU entities participating in the same bidding process in the Romanian solar park were not investigated suggests that the FSR is being used to target Chinese companies. Although the text of the FSR is not aimed at specific countries, the European Commission's initial probes have all targeted Chinese enterprises.

Besides, on April 9, the European Commission launched an investigation into Chinese suppliers of wind turbines. The probe focuses on the expansion of wind farms in Bulgaria, France, Greece, Spain and Romania where wind turbines from Chinese manufacturers have been winning orders, allegedly on account of an uneven level playing field.

On April 23, the commission also initiated unannounced inspections in the security equipment sector. Dawn raids were conducted on Chinese companies in EU member states after the commission was reported to have received tipoffs that the companies inspected may have received subsidies from China.

No wonder the China Chamber of Commerce to the EU called the commission's actions selective enforcement against Chinese companies.

That the commission is also demanding sensitive information and data from the targeted Chinese companies relating to their competitive edge has made it impossible for these companies to cooperate with the investigations.

The investigations have therefore left the Chinese companies with no choice but to withdraw their bids. The probes the European Commission has so far launched into Chinese companies have become not so much a scrutiny to ensure fair competition but a means to squeeze them out of the market.

In this sense, the FSR that took effect in January 2023, which was claimed to be a new regime aimed at combating distortions of competition within the EU's internal market caused by foreign subsidies, has turned out to be a political tool to force Chinese companies out of the EU market.

As such, it is a means of protectionism, and the enforcement of the FSR so far has seriously violated World Trade Organization rules as it has created discriminatory conditions in the EU market for Chinese enterprises.

Adopting a discriminatory approach toward Chinese companies will be detrimental to the development of China-EU ties and negatively impact bilateral cooperation in various fields.

The commission is thus only shooting the EU economy in the foot with its actions.

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