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Experts call for support of PV industry

By Ji Beibei (Global Times)

08:32, September 17, 2012

Industrial experts said Sunday the government should intervene following reports that Indian companies have called for an anti-dumping probe into China's solar panel exports, similar to the ones already launched by the US and the EU.

"Compared with solar panel companies, the government is more powerful and has countermeasures to respond with," Bai Ming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times Sunday. "Besides, the recent probes against Chinese firms were launched by foreign official bodies and we need our official response too."

Shanghai Securities News reported Saturday that Indian businesses had filed a complaint against Chinese solar panel products to India's anti-dumping authority on September 12.

The news triggered fears that other markets might join the US and the EU in taking measures against China's solar photovoltaic (PV) industry.

The US announced a preliminary decision in May to levy anti-dumping duties of up to 250 percent on solar panel exports from China. The European Commission also said on September 6 that it will open an anti-dumping probe into Chinese PV exports.

The Chinese government failed to act when the US opened its anti-dumping probe, which encouraged the EU to follow suit, Han Xiaoping, chief information officer at Chinese energy portal china5e.com, was quoted as saying Saturday by China Radio International.

"We should take timely and effective countermeasures to avoid history repeating itself," Bai told the Global Times, noting that markets like Argentina followed suit after the US imposed a tariff on tires imported from China in 2009.

Over 70 percent of Chinese solar exports go to the EU market, which is the largest solar market worldwide and had 51,000 megawatts of installed solar generating capacity in 2011. Exports to the EU are worth over $20 billion per year, and account for over 400,000 jobs in the Chinese PV industry, according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). So any obstacles to the EU market would be a serious blow for domestic solar companies.

Though the Indian market is a lot smaller and much less important than that of the EU, "it doesn't mean we can afford to lose the potential market for the future," Liang Tian, public relations director of Yingli Green Energy Holdings Co, one of the leading solar panel producers in China, told the Global Times.

Foreign companies complain because China's PV exports are cheap, but the reason they are cheap is that domestic companies have mastered advanced technologies and cut costs, Liang said.

Chong Quan, China's deputy representative for international trade talks with the MOFCOM, pointed out Friday during a trip to the EU that both sides would be hurt by a Sino-EU trade conflict.

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