Domestic solar companies say anti-dumping measures counterproductive

Updated: 2012-09-13 07:48

By Du Juan in Tianjin (China Daily)

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The European Commission's anti-dumping investigation of China's solar panel products harms the development of alternative energy, said the head of the Chinese solar company involved in the case.

It is essential to lower the cost of solar power to enable it to compete with fossil fuels, he said, adding that the commission's actions are counterproductive to this process.

Several days after the commission launched the probe into China's alleged dumping of solar products, the case became a hot topic for attendees to the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions, held in Tianjin from Sept 11 to 13.

"There should not be any trade protectionism between China and Europe," said Gao Jifan, chairman of Trina Solar Ltd, one of the major solar panel producers in China. "I'm confident that we will achieve a good solution eventually through communication among governments and companies from the two sides."

Gao said there is lots of opposition to the probe in Europe, and as many as 100 European companies have formed an alliance against the investigation.

However, Gao said China's solar companies should reconsider the future path of the industry and how to expand the domestic market.

"China needs to transform from the biggest manufacturing country of solar industry into the biggest market for the industry in the world," he said. "We welcome the US and European solar companies to come to China and share the market with us in the future."

On Sept 6, the commission announced it would launch a probe on China's solar products, which China's Ministry of Commence said would not only hurt the global solar industry but also harm the trade relationship between China and the Europe.

The case will be the largest trade dispute involving China, said Xu Ruilin, head of the Solar Industry Association in Jiangsu province, during a previous interview with China Daily.

The EU statement said the investigation is expected to last 15 months.

Jiangsu province has the greatest concentration of solar companies in China, and it will be affected most by the case.

China exported nearly $26 billion solar panels and products to Europe last year.

In October 2011, US started similar anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations of China's solar industry and imposed tariffs against several Chinese manufacturers, alleging they sold their products below cost.

"Facing solar disputes with the United States and Europe, we should not only discuss it from the business and economic perspective, we should take into consideration the reduction of carbon emissions," said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economic Research at Xiamen University, during the forum.

He said an international alliance should be formed to solve the problem together.

About 90 percent of Chinese solar products are exported to overseas markets at present.

Zhao Yuwen, vice-chairman of the Chinese Solar Energy Society, said the key to solving the problem of China's solar industry is to expand the domestic market.

The opinion has been proposed for many years, but progress has seldom been achieved.

"The government should balance manufacturing industries and market demand," he said.

He said that the probability of the European Commission winning the case is high.

Lin said there should be more energy cooperation between the government and the private sector.

(China Daily 09/13/2012 page4)