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Chinese solar firms reject EU trade action

2013-05-24 10:40 Global Times     Web Editor: qindexing comment

Chinese solar panel manufacturers expressed strong opposition Thursday to possible punitive import duties by the EU on Chinese solar panels and urged the EU to drop its trade protectionism to avoid harming the solar industrial chain.

In a joint statement released Thursday, major Chinese solar panel makers Yingli Green Energy Holdings Co, Trina Solar Ltd and Canadian Solar Inc said any form of trade protectionism and punitive import duties would be detrimental to the development of the solar panel industry, both in China and in the EU.

"The EU's solar industrial chain does not only include the few upstream companies who filed complaints against Chinese manufacturers, but also many others in the midstream and downstream, and trade protectionism will harm the entire solar industrial chain in the EU," the statement said.

The three companies called for sincere talks between the EU and China for reconciliation.

Their statement came one day after the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, which represents the Chinese solar industry, announced Wednesday that the first round of talks on resolving the solar trade dispute with the EU had failed to produce a result.

The chamber attributed the failure to the EU's lack of sincerity in trying to settle the dispute through negotiations.

The EU agreed earlier this month to impose provisional punitive import duties on solar panel imports from China to combat what it called the "dumping" of Chinese solar products in Europe. The duties will range from 37 to 68 percent on Chinese solar panels.

The EU member states will vote to decide whether to levy the duties on Chinese solar panels Friday and the preliminary determination will be published in the EU's official journal on June 6.

"The solar dispute is not just a trade issue. It's crystal clear that the EU wants to repress the development of two strategic industries in China - renewable energies and Internet telecommunications - which are also two pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution," Meng Xian'gan, deputy director of the China Renewable Energy Society, told the Global Times.

In another high profile case, the EU said last week it was ready to levy trade duties on Chinese mobile telecommunications equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp over allegations that the two firms are receiving State subsidies.

"The result of the EU decision no longer matters. What matters is that the industries learn from the lesson and focus on developing core technology instead of expanding their scale to capture the world market," Meng said.

The solar dispute has also proved divisive in Europe. German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said Sunday the EU's agreement to back a plan to impose duties on Chinese solar panels is a "grave mistake," and urged the EU to resolve the dispute through negotiations.

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