EU-China Trade Project II (EUCTP II) launches EU-China Competition Policy Mini-site

A main priority identified by EUCTP II has been to utilise platforms and initiatives that enable wider dissemination and greater sustainability of Project impacts. As part of this approach, on 26 June, 2012 EUCTP II officially launched the EU-China Competition Policy Mini-site. The launch event was introduced with opening remarks by Dr Alexander Italianer, Director-General of the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission (DG COMP), and representatives from China’s three Anti-Monopoly Enforcement Agencies (AMEAs) - the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC), and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).


Attendees representing a mix of government, industry, and academic interests, were given a demo of the new site’s features and content. The mini-site, which can be found at www.euchinacomp.org, offers a comprehensive archive of bilingual technical materials and resources that have been produced for Chinese beneficiaries through EUCTP II-supported activities and serves as a window on European best practices in Competition Policy, framed within the context of China’s developments in this area.

 

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COMPETITION POLICY

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Accelerating positive momentum in EU-China cooperation on Competition Policy: China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) came into force in 2008, giving responsibility to three AMEAs to prosecute Cartels (NDRC), the Abuse of Dominance (SAIC) and to undertake Merger Review (MOFCOM). To support the AMEAs to deliver their mandate and to encourage the development of a transparent and predictable competition regime, the 3rd EU-China Competition Week was held in March 2012 in Beijing; Shenzhen, Guangdong province and Wuxi, Jiangsu province. In a workshop with MOFCOM’s Anti-Monopoly Bureau, merger cases in


Central and provincial enforcement officials from NDRC and SAIC attend the 3rd Competition Week session in Wuxi
the ICT sector were highlighted, providing a valuable opportunity forcase workers in MOFCOM and DG COMP to interact and better understand their working methods on cases both authorities would review. In Shenzhen, sessions were organised to coincide with SAIC’s internal training programme, and in Wuxi, sessions with NDRC and

The EU-China Competition Policy Mini-site www.euchinacomp.org

SAIC’s central and provincial enforcement officials continued the capacity-building work in the field of cartels and the abuse of dominance. In addition, bilingual DVDs of the sessions in Wuxi have been distributed to relevant officials across China to increase exposure to the training sessions and the sustainability of the technical assistance delivered. All technical materials produced for the sessions, as well as previous technical materials produced by the Project in the area of Competition Policy, have been made available to a wider audience via the new EU-China Competition Policy Mini-site (www.euchinacomp.org), which was launched in June 2012.


FINANCIAL SECTOR DEVELOPMENT
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Referencing EU experience as China seeks to expand its Financial Sector: As China´s economy grows, news from the Chinese central bank will have greater influence in moving global financial markets, and the Chinese central bank´s ability to communicate policy will play an increasingly important role. To assist the People´s Bank of China (PBOC) in better understanding how the European Central Bank and Member States communicate with the public about policy, financial data and crisis management, EUCTP II organised a Study Visit on Central Bank Public Communications - relevant as the Euro crisis requires central banks to communicate effectively in easing public concern.

A Workshop to Support Revision of the Securities Investment Funds Law was also organised by the Project, offering additional support and information as China seeks to deepen its financial market despite the crisis. Key European practices such as a single management passport and corporate governance oversight - from both regulatory and industry perspectives - formed a strong basis for the workshop’s discussions. Referencing the 2009 E-Money Directive, EUCTP II organised a Study Visit on Rural Payment Services and Electronic Money Supervision to enhance the PBOC’s understanding of how Europe has supervised institutions that provide card-based money ( e.g. stored value subway cards that can be used in shops) and payment systems (e.g. PayPal and AliPay).  The  development  of  rural financial services, particularly payment services, in Europe could inform China’s own efforts to promote rural growth.

Chinese and European experts discuss key practices for supporting revision of the Securities Investment Funds Law


ACCESS TO FINANCE
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Taking a provincial approach to promoting Financing alternatives: As the Euro crisis makes it harder for small companies to raise funds, EUCTP II organised a Workshop on Financing Small- and Mid-size Enterprises (SMEs) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, to share how Europe supports SMEs through approaches like public-backed guarantee programmes or a new venture capital directive. The workshop was followed by a visit to Wenzhou, Zhejiang province - the cradle of SMEs in China - where European experts exchanged views with municipal officials on a financial reform trial announced by the State Council in March 2012 that aims to improve SME financing. In Chengdu, Sichuan Province, the Project organised a Workshop on Rural Microfinance to deepen the China Banking Regulatory Commission’s (CBRC) understanding of how Europe supports rural microfinancing and the hurdles faced. After the workshop, European experts visited a village and township bank in Leshan, Sichuan province, where they exchanged with bank staff how both sides assess issues like determining a client’s creditworthiness or finding guarantees.

TOURISM AND CULTURE

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Workshop on Tourism Legal Frameworks

Advancing the development of Tourism Legislation and the EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue: In response to the increase in Chinese tourists travelling domestically and internationally, the National People´s Congress (NPC) working bodies are in the process of drafting a tourism law. To support and inform the law´s development, EUCTP II organised a Workshop on Tourism Legal Frameworks, sharing how Europe divides regulators´ responsibilities among European, national and regional authorities, how it oversees travel contracts and tour guides, and how it supervises time-share holidays. The Chinese participants reported that the
exchanges helped them consider improvements to the legislative framework for the tourism sector in China, with a particular emphasis on consumer protection and Europe´s laws for package travel and time-share vacations.

In recognition of the EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue, and as both regions emphasise their respective cultural and creative services, EUCTP II organised a Workshop on Creative and Cultural Industries in Hefei, Anhui province. The activity helped stakeholders like the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the Ministry of Culture (MOC) better understand how Europe’s policy environment for creative and cultural industries encourages growth, and to exchange views with European experts on how to strike a balance between trade liberalisation and cultural preservation.


SECTORAL EXCHANGES
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Enhancing mutual exchange through the EU-China Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism: Sectoral exchanges in areas such as cosmetics, pressure equipment, and medical devices were held from March through June 2012, reflecting the priorities in the Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism between the European Commission and relevant Chinese authorities. In place since 2007, the Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism aims to promote information exchange, mutual understanding and co-operation between the EU and China on pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cosmetics and related administrative, regulatory or scientific matters. The Cosmetic Expert Exchange, EU-China Symposium on Pressure Equipment Regulation and
Medical Devices Expert Roundtable IIeach uniquely contributed to progressing the aims of this agreement. In addition, the symposium on Pressure Equipment was broadcasted via an online webcast on the China Promotion Association for Special Equipment Safety and Energy-saving (CPASE) website, increasing overall dissemination efforts of the training and discussions. EUCTP II also supported sectoral exchanges at the provincial level, providing platforms such as the Seminar on EU Legislation for Low Voltage Electrical Products to build the capacity of local authorities, regulators and technical bodies responsible for enforcing trade rules.

European and Chinese experts discuss the features of pressure equipment and their applicable regulations

AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SAFETY top
Increasing capacity to harmonise Chinese Standards with EU and International Standards:Taking significant steps towards standards harmonisation, EUCTP II supported a roundtable in Qingdao that resulted in the development of an initial plan to put into effect the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) dialogue that took place in March 2012 in Beijing. This dialogue called for cooperation in the area of Laboratory Standards and Quality Assurance to establish a road map towards twining the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)/European Union Animal Health (EU) reference laboratory located in Maisons-Alfort, France with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) reference laboratory located in Qingdao. This cooperation would effectively support the harmonisation of standards between the EU and China in the area of surveillance and control of zoonotic diseases (diseases transmissible to humans), which currently undermines food safety in domestic and international trade.



The quality and safety of milk used in FSMP is discussed during a study visit to Europe

In addition to zoonotic diseases, dairy products have also become a high priority in the area of surveillance and standards implementation. Innovations in dairy products used for special medical purposes, such as infant formula, and the rapid growth in demand for these products in China, has highlighted an urgent need for updates to relating standards. In response, on 21 December, 2010 the Ministry of Health (MOH)issued the draft standard GB 25596-2010 “Formulas for Special Medical Purposes Intended for Infants” (FSMP), which eventually came into force on 1 January, 2012. The EUCTP II study visit on FSMP provided an excellent opportunity for experts from MOH and the General Administration of Quality Supervision,
Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) to enhance their implementing capacity while gaining first-hand knowledge and experience in understanding the related EU regulations and best industrial practices for FSMPs.

Building on the progress of prior activities, and to further support implementation of the 2009 Food Safety Law, EUCTP II supported MOH, MOA and AQSIQ with a series of four seminars to enhance institutional capacity in reviewing and developing standards related to the traceability of agricultural products and alcoholic beverages. 


IPR ACTION PLAN ON CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT top
Supporting enforcement of the EU-China Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Action Plan:In the context of the EU-China Action Plan on IPR Customs Enforcement, EUCTP II supported two seminars in Europeto promote the exchange of practical knowledge and offer technical assistance on how best to provide seizure information to assist other administrations in stopping production and winding up distribution networks of pirated or counterfeit items. The discussions offered a unique opportunity for participants to compare views, best practices and ideas for strengthening Key Actions of the IPR Action Plan.

 “EU-China Action Plan on IPR Customs Enforcement” workshop on Key Action 3


STATISTICS

Upgrading Information Technology (IT) tools in External Trade Statistics: Successfulcooperation in the area of International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) provided the foundation for a tailor-made training activity that shared high level technical expertise in IT statistical tools (Statistical Analysis Software - SAS and Community External Trade Statistics - COMEXT). The activity allowed for representatives from the General Administration of Customs of the PRC (GACC) to learn and exchange best practice experience with Eurostat experts in SAS and other IT applications utilised in External Trade Statistics.


LOW CARBON ECONOMY top

Over 170 participants gather for the EU-China Seminar on Integration of Best Available Technologies for Near Zero Energy Buildings


Low Carbon Economy activities support official agreement: As emphasised in the first EU-China High Level Meeting on Energy, cooperation in the fields of Energy and the goal of a low carbon economy remain high on the agenda for EU-China cooperation. Continuing to deliver on these priorities, an EU-China Seminar on Integration of Best Available Technologies for Near Zero Energy Buildings was held as part of the 8th Annual International Green Buildings Exhibition, organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD). This seminar attracted more than 170
attendees from Chinese government bodies at the central and local levels, research institutes and industry representatives from both EU and China. The technical materials produced in Chinese for the seminar were downloaded over 5000 times, demonstrating the value of the EU-China Low Carbon Economy Platform (www.chinalce.eu) to support the preparation, delivery and follow up of events.