PRC takes EU nations to WTO over solar panel help


Wed, Nov 07, 2012 - Page 15

China has filed a WTO case challenging subsidies provided by some EU members to promote the solar panel industry, adding to its trade disputes with Europe and the US.

Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang (沈丹陽) said China is requesting a consultation at the WTO. It is accusing some EU countries of providing subsidies for power generated by solar facilities in which the main components are made in European countries.

Shen said such subsidies “seriously damaged China’s photovoltaic exports.”

The statement issued on Monday did not name the countries targeted in the WTO case, but Xinhua news agency cited a ministry official as saying that Italy and Greece subsidize projects that use EU-produced solar equipment.

The case follows an anti-dumping probe Beijing announced last week into European exports of polysilicon used in making solar panels. The EU earlier began investigating whether Beijing was improperly subsidizing exports of solar panels.

China and its trading partners pledged after the 2008 global financial crisis to avoid taking actions that would hamper trade, but have launched a series of anti-subsidy investigations and imposed punitive tariffs on some goods.

The US International Trade Commission is to vote today on whether Chinese trade practices have injured the US solar industry. It is the final hurdle in a more than year-long effort by the US to impose steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels.

Washington imposed tariffs of up to 250 percent on imports of China-made solar panels this year to counter what it said was improper subsidies to the industry, but those tariffs will not be finalized unless the commission votes to find harm to the US industry.