Air conditioner makers must strengthen self-regulation to ensure fair competition, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) told China Daily yesterday.
Action is needed to avoid possible dumping charges against Chinese firms operating in the United States.
"Any enterprise found to have conducted bad practices will be punished with relevant laws and regulations of foreign trade," said an official at the Bureau of Trade for Imports and Exports under MOFCOM.
The ministry has requested industrial associations to keep an eye on exports to the US, and report back to the bureau in good time. After holding talks with representatives of associations and air conditioner makers, MOFCOM decided something had to be done.
"This issue is still expected to be solved without an anti-dumping suit," said Jiang Feng, secretary-general of the China Electronic Appliance Association.
She said the association has kept in regular touch with enterprises since April, asking them to be disciplined when setting export prices.
The US has agreed not to file a petition if a mutually satisfactory solution is found.
"We believe the government and associations will solve this problem properly," Jiang said.
A group of air conditioner manufacturers in the US has complained to their domestic industrial associations about Chinese firms selling products at a price less than cost.
Experts say the complaint was mainly levelled at LG Electronics, whose manufacturing base in North China's Tianjin exported more than 2 million units valued at nearly US$150 million to the United States.
LG has reduced its exports of low-priced air conditioners to the US market and its average export price has increased.