China hits back on EU solar trade case

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China could retaliate over a European anti-dumping complaint filed against Chinese solar companies, officials from a Chinese industry body said on Thursday (2 August) in a protracted row over cheaper Chinese solar modules.

Western solar companies have been at odds with their Chinese counterparts for years, alleging they receive lavish credit lines to offer modules at cheaper prices, while European players struggle to refinance.

Jobs and profits would be lost if the European Commission ruled in favor of a complaint made by European solar firms, led by Germany's SolarWorld, Sun Guangbin, Secretary General of the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import & Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, told a news conference.

"If they implement trade restrictions, demand for solar products will not be met as only a small number of firms will profit from it, which will push up costs," Sun said.

"Many people in Europe will lose their jobs as upstream and downstream firms will suffer," Sun said, adding that China's imports of solar equipment and related services helped support 300,000 jobs across Europe.

Deal with us fairly, Chinese ask

The European Commission has 45 days to decide if it will start an investigation once a complaint has been filed, then has nine months to decide on provisional duties. It must conclude its investigation within 15 months.

"We call on the EU Commission and all EU members to deal with the issue prudently and fairly," Wang Guiqing, Vice President of the Chamber, told the same news conference.

"The issue has aroused a high degree of attention from the Chinese government. We hope that the worst case scenario can be avoided."

China's solar firms last week warned of a trade war and called on the government to respond with all means to an anti-dumping complaint filed by European competitors.

SolarWorld spearheaded a similar initiative in the United States, leading the world's largest economy in May to impose duties of about 31 percent on solar panel imports from China.

Almost 60 percent of China's solar exports, worth $35.8 billion, were shipped to the EU in 2011.

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