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China alert to threat of EU anti-dumping probe

By Li Jiabao and Du Juan (China Daily)

08:14, July 25, 2012

China is keeping a close eye on an anti-dumping complaint that the German solar giant SolarWorld AG filed over Chinese manufacturers' practices and will probably take countermeasures if the European Commission begins investigating the matter, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

"The solar industry is of great concern to China," a ministry official who declined to be named told China Daily. "We have paid more attention to this case than any other trade remedy case because of the high value of (the industry's) exports.

"We haven't received any notice from the European Commission yet. But if the commission opens an anti-dumping investigation against Chinese solar makers, China will probably take countermeasures."

The Financial Times has cited an unnamed source as saying that the anti-dumping complaint filed by SolarWorld accuses Chinese manufacturers of selling photovoltaic cells in the European Union below the cost of producing that equipment. The commission, the EU's executive arm, will have 45 days from the date of the case's filing to decide if it will start an investigation.

An industry insider with knowledge of the case told China Daily that the commission has rejected SolarWorld AG's complaints many times.

"The European company's actions are incomprehensible at a time when the EU is contending with a debt crisis," the official said. "China and the EU can indeed cooperate on developing the solar industry."

Experts said the investigation, if opened, will inflict a severe blow to China's solar industry, which has to pay anti-dumping and countervailing duties on exports to the United States.

"If the European Commission accepts SolarWorld AG's complaint, and I foresee a high probability of that happening, that means the commission is ready and is in a position to initiate an anti-dumping probe into Chinese solar cells," said Liu Huijuan, director of the legal department of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery of Electronic Products.

"The case will be a very, very important one for China's solar industry, and domestic solar manufacturers will surely defend themselves in the investigation," Liu said.

"We strongly oppose the EU's anti-dumping investigation into the Chinese solar industry. No punitive tariff will be acceptable because the progress of the Chinese solar industry ... has pushed the development of the world solar industry forward.

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