Chinese solar makers warn of 'trade war' with EU

Four leading solar cell manufacturers in China on Thursday warned a possible EU anti-dumping investigation could trigger a "trade war" and urged Beijing to step in to protect their interests.

German cell maker SolarWorld AG has reportedly requested the European Union to probe alleged dumping by Chinese firms, said a joint statement by Yingli Green Energy, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Trina Solar and Canadian Solar, which is headquartered in Canada but manufactures in China.

The move came on the heels of a US decision in May to slap hefty anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar cell makers, which Beijing blasted as "protectionist".

The companies called on the Chinese government to block the case by opening a dialogue with the European Union to prevent a trade war.

"China's photovoltaic industry will suffer a deadly blow if the EU follows the United States and launches an anti-dumping probe," said the statement.

More than 60 percent of China's $35.8-billion-worth solar shipments were exported to the EU last year while the country imported $7.5 billion of European solar equipments and raw materials, it said.

"Meanwhile, (a probe) would trigger a full scale trade war between China and Europe," it said, adding the country is a big market for European products ranging from cars, aircraft, machines and luxury goods.

"We strongly call on the Chinese government to immediately carry out high-level dialogue with the EU before it accepts the case," the statement said.

The companies also rejected SolarWorld's reported dumping allegations against the Chinese industry, calling them "groundless".

The growth of Chinese solar companies actually helped create most of the EU's current 300,000 jobs in related industries, it said.

In addition, any move to restrict market access would disrupt global efforts to achieve the goal of saving energy and cutting emissions in the long term, it added.

Beijing should take "all necessary measures" to protect the rights and interests of Chinese companies if talks fail to prevent the EU from opening an investigation, it said.

In apparent retaliation to the US duties, China last week started a probe into alleged dumping of solar products by US manufacturers as well as alleged US government subsidies for the sector.

Source: AFP

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