Chi­nese so­lar panel mak­ers deny vi­o­lat­ing set­tle­ment with the EU

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By LI JIABAO li­ji­abao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese so­lar panel mak­ers have de­nied charges that they are in “mas­sive vi­o­la­tion” of a set­tle­ment be­tween China and the Euro­pean Union that ended a bit­ter trade feud be­tween the two sides last year. Ina state­ment is­sued on Thurs­day, the Chi­nese com­pa­nies said that they are be­ing tar­geted un­fairly and the ac­cu­sa­tions made by the key Euro­pean lobby are “base­less and smack of trade fric­tion.”

“The ac­cu­sa­tion is ground­less and not ver­i­fied. Spread­ing such in­for­ma­tion will dam­age the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the cur­rent­min­i­mumprice agree­ment be­tween China and the EU,” said a state­ment re­leased by the China Cham­ber of Com­merce for Im­port and Ex­port ofMachin­ery and Elec­tronic Prod­ucts.

On June 5, the Euro­pean so­lar in­dus­try ini­tia­tive EU ProSun sub­mit­ted over 1,000 pages of doc­u­men­ta­tion to the Direc­torate-Gen­eral for Trade of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion “con­tain­ing about 1,500 pro­pos­als by Chi­nese so­lar com­pa­nies of­fer­ing prices be­low the min­i­mum level agreed by the EU Com­mis­sion and China,” said a state­ment from the lobby group.

China and the EU were on the brink of ma­jor trade war last year, af­ter the 28-mem­ber bloc al­leged that Chi­nese so­lar com­pa­nies had re­ceived mas­sive govern­ment sub­si­dies and were sell­ing prod­ucts in the Euro­pean mar­ket at prices be­low fair value. The dis­pute was set­tled af­ter both sides agreed to a min­i­mum price up to a cer­tain thresh­old of im­ports.

Mi­lan Nitzschke, pres­i­dent of EU ProSun, claimed that the EU trade rules are be­ing “sys­tem­at­i­cally vi­o­lated” by Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers and called for the re­view of “the en­tire min­i­mum price agree­ment”.

TheChi­nese cham­ber, in its state­ment, said that China has been strictly fol­low­ing the agree­ment which took ef­fect on Aug 6, 2013.

“We guar­an­tee that all con­tracts are in line with the agree­ment. We are also in close com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the EU Com­mis­sion to pe­ri­od­i­cally re­port all the con­tracts by Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers ... The cham­ber checked with the Chi­nese com­pa­nies that were re­ported to be break­ing the agree­ment, and all stated that they did not vi­o­late the agree­ment and were will­ing to re­ceive the ver­i­fi­ca­tion by au­thor­i­ties,” the cham­ber said in the state­ment.

The Chi­nese com­pa­nies also con­demned the “ground­less re­ports”, the state­ment said.

“The cham­ber has com­mu­ni­cated with EU of­fi­cials and agreed to con­duct an on-site check soon re­gard­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the min­i­mum price agree­ment. The cham­ber will sup­port puni­tive mea­sures if Chi­nese com­pa­nies are found to be in vi­o­la­tion of the agree­ment.”

Cui Hongjian, di­rec­tor of Euro­pean stud­ies at the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said the cur­rent dis­pute will not af­fect the over­all agree­ment on so­lar prod­ucts be­tween China and the EU.

“The cur­rent dis­pute is more on a tech­ni­cal level and the Chi­nese govern­ment will not help the com­pa­nies if they have vi­o­lated the agree­ment. Un­like the dis­pute last year, China and the EU now have an es­tab­lished frame­work to con­trol the dis­putes over so­lar prod­ucts,” Cui said.

“The key is for theEUCom­mis­sion to main­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tion with its Chi­nese coun­ter­parts and avoid any mis­un­der­stand­ing,” he said.

The United States on June 3 de­cided to levy pre­lim­i­nary du­ties, rang­ing from 18.56 per­cent to 35.21 per­cent, on Chi­nese so­lar equip­ment im­ports, claim­ing they had ben­e­fited un­fairly from govern­ment sub­si­dies.

Fol­low­ing the com­plaint from So­larWorld AG’s US branch, the US probed so­lar prod­uct ex­ports from China in 2011 and ap­plied du­ties for the next year.

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