Wed, Jun 27, 2012 - Page 15 News List

China warns EU against dispute

AFP, BEIJING

Beijing yesterday warned the EU that EU firms would suffer if it decides to take action against companies in China’s solar and telecommunications sectors because of trade rows.

EU firms have long accused Beijing of giving Chinese solar cell makers and telecoms firms an unfair competitive advantage through state subsidies, and have called for Brussels to restrict imports of their products.

The EU is reportedly preparing to launch an anti-dumping investigation into leading Chinese telecoms firms Huawei Technologies (華為) and ZTE Corp (中興).

Chinese Ministry of Commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang (沈丹陽) rejected allegations that the two companies received subsidies as “groundless,” adding that they have been growing through “complete market competition.”

He said that many European telecoms companies have operated in China for many years, benefiting both Beijing and Brussels.

“China does not want such a win-win situation being undermined or damaged,” he said. “Facing the grave world economic situation, we think China and the EU should enhance policy coordination ... and refrain from using trade protection measures.”

The US Department of Commerce last month imposed levies of between 31 percent and 250 percent on a number of Chinese producers and exporters, saying it had found they sold solar cells in the US at artificially low prices, a practice known as dumping.

The EU may also follow suit and impose sanctions against China soon, according to previous media reports.

However, Shen warned that any sanctions on the Chinese solar cell industry would be detrimental to EU firms because China is a big buyer of European raw materials used to make photovoltaic products.

He said China has so far imported a total of 40 billion yuan (US$6.3 billion) worth of equipment to produce solar batteries — and 45 percent of this was purchased from European nations, including Germany and Switzerland.

“We hope the EU will be prudent [in taking any action],” he said.

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