Japanese firms in China to call for even playing field in office equipment bids

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A copy of a Chinese government draft paper on information security technology

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China will submit a letter to the Chinese government at the end of the month calling for a legal amendment to stop Japanese firms from being unfairly excluded from government tenders, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The association of China-based Japanese businesses will also urge Beijing to take into consideration the opinions of foreign companies.

Beijing is currently formulating a new standard that would effectively restrict the use in government ministries of multifunctional office equipment not fully manufactured in China.

JCCIC believes the problem lies in China’s Government Procurement Law, which sets the rules on tenders by central and local governments as well as public companies.

The law includes provisions such as “Domestic commodities, engineering works and services should be targeted for government procurements,” which creates an uneven playing field for Japanese companies.

The JCCIC request calls for “a swift amendment to create an environment in which imports and domestic products can compete on even ground.”

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Chinese government is considering introducing new standards that would effectively mean foreign office equipment manufacturers would have to complete every process involved in the production of a device — from the design, development and manufacturing — in China.

A public consultation process is expected to begin in the near future.

With this in mind, the JCCIC is calling on Beijing to “incorporate the opinions of relevant parties including foreign companies,” in the process of establishing new standards.

Chinese standards come in three main types — mandatory, recommendation and guidance — and the new standard is expected to be a recommendation. However, the JCCIC said, “even a recommendation could become a mandate.”

The American Chamber of Commerce in China and The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China have also expressed similar concerns regarding the issues of technology tenders.