Solving solar panel friction through dialogue

Updated: 2012-09-15 10:50


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BRUSSELS -- A senior official of China's commerce ministry on Friday called for solving China-European Union solar panel friction through dialogue to safeguard bilateral economic and trade relations.

"We hope the EU adopt a cautious attitude," and "dialogue is the best approach to solving the dispute," Chong Quan, deputy representative for China's international trade talks, told reporters.

The EU should pay attention not only to China's exports of solar panels to the EU but also to the over 200,000 jobs created thereby for its industry of photovoltaic power system installation, said Chong.

The EU should also notice its export to China of relevant raw materials and technological equipments worth tens of billions of US dollars, said Chong after talks with Jean-Luc Demarty, the European Commission's Director General for Trade.

The talks were held after the EU announced last week it would launch a 15-month investigation into imports of solar panels and key components from China and may impose provisional anti-dumping duties within nine months.

Chong said, the growth of the solar panel industry of the EU and that of China have been complementary, win-win and intertwined with each other from the very beginning.

The whole solar panel industry is facing challenges, and the difficulties facing the EU solar panel companies should not be attributed to the "dumping" of Chinese firms, because dumping and competition are two completely different concepts, he said.

"We hope the EU deliver an all-round, objective and fair judgement on the case, and solve the challenges through cooperation instead of trade restriction measures unilaterally," Chong said.

China and the EU have common interests and conduct cooperation in trade, investment and technologies. Any restriction would affect not only a single product or an industry, but a wide range of related sectors and the whole interests of the EU, he added.

The solar panel dispute has evolved into a major problem putting China-EU economic and trade relations into test, and China does not want to see the case trigger wider China-EU trade disputes, Chong said.

"We hope the EU attach importance to China's concerns, and governments and industries of both sides seek to solve the trade friction through dialogue and consultation," said Chong.

Demarty said the EU initiated the case based on application from local enterprises, but it held no pre-judgement for the result of the investigations.

This is a special case involving a huge amount of trade value, so it is in the interests of both sides to avoid the trade dispute, Demarty said.

Demarty said the EU was willing to conduct consultations and discussions with China to explore solutions to the issue within the framework of the rules of the World Trade Organization and the laws of the EU.