Ericsson - Ads Each Representing 1 Underlying Class B Share (MM) (NASDAQ:ERIC)
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Sweden's Ericsson (ERIC) said Monday it is opposed to a planned probe by the EU commission into claims that Chinese wireless network vendors Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. (0763.HK) may be selling products in Europe below cost.
Ulf Pehrsson, who heads government and industry relations at Ericsson, said any plans by the commission to bring an anti-dumping case against the firms that could potentially lead to punitive import tariffs being imposed against them was the wrong way to proceed.
"Ericsson is a strong supporter of free trade and we don't believe in this type of unilateral measure," he said. The EU faces the risk of initiating "a negative spiral" by targeting individual Chinese firms, he said.
The Financial Times reported Friday that officials in Brussels had informed European Union member states at a closed-door meeting last week it had "solid evidence" that Huawei and ZTE have been benefiting from government subsidies, allowing them to sell equipment and accompanying services at rock-bottom prices.
Ericsson, the world's biggest mobile network equipment maker, as well as rivals Nokia-Siemens Networks, a joint venture between Nokia Corp. (NOK) and Siemens AG (SI), and Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) have all seen their profit margins squeezed by competition from Huawei and ZTE, which have grown rapidly to become global suppliers of telecommunications equipment and services.
Pehrsson said such a step would be "unique", given that the commission has never before started a trade investigation without having first received a complaint.
"The EU commission is acting on its own initiative here, without having received a request for action from the industry," Pehrsson said.
Instead, Ericsson is supporting "global rules that apply for all industry players," Persson said, and pointed towards the ongoing discussions between U.S. and China regarding a rules and guidelines for state supported export-credit financing.
"We would rather see the EU taking active steps to join these talks," Persson said.
At 1416 GMT shares in Ericsson traded 0.1% lower at SEK61.90.
-By Sven Grundberg, Dow Jones Newswires; +46-8-5451-3098; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @svengrundberg