Before the Romanian 1989 revolution that upstaged Ceausescu, there was not much choice in terms of buying clothes or food in local State stores. You would enter a room and see the shelves empty and nothing on it just dust.
Food stores were a bit different: you had your cards and get food rationalized per family member. Ceausescu thought some 250 grams of sugar and 250 grams of rice per month were quite enough for an individual. You would queue outside authorized bakeries to get your authorized piece of bread. Basically, the regime knew how much you were supposed to eat per month to turn up healthy.
Among the foreign items, there was only smuggled clothing bearing the Made in China tags. And that was scarce too. However, after the revolution, Chinese food and clothing just flooded the market from low to moderate prices. Sure, they are quite practical. However, quality is debatable: some times it’s worth it, most of the times it’s not.
Made in China tags are still the most frequent items you may find in markets and stores along with designer tags for clothes that are surely made in India or Bangladesh, but sold as if sown in Paris or Milan.
So, while reading the news that the EU is holding talks with China today over the dumping prices on solar panels and wireless equipment, it occurred to me that the situation has not changed much. You cannot beat low Chinese prices. The European officials are thinking of imposing import duties averaging some 47% on Chinese solar panels affecting all exports to the EU.
Of course, China does not agree with the proposed duties but it’s not like they are willing to dump the dumping prices. In return, Beijing might also decide to levy or not its own taxes on EU, US and South Korean imported raw materials for solar panels.
So whose price is worth it: EU’s or China’s? Customers are yet to decide, but I’m sure the EU is not in a power position here.