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Solar firm warns EU over trade barriers

By Song Shengxia (Global Times)

08:15, February 22, 2013

A leading Chinese solar panel company and a domestic industrial association expressed opposition Thursday to a possible European Commission plan to register solar panel imports from China, saying the continued growth of trade barriers would hinder the development of clean energy and cost jobs in Europe.

"Our industry's mission is to make solar power affordable for everyone, and the continued growth of trade barriers will only delay the industry from fulfilling this," solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings Co said in a statement sent to the Global Times Thursday.

"Protectionist measures would increase the cost of solar energy in Europe, and adversely affect European jobs in the solar industry. As a global solar company, Suntech will continue to oppose unnecessary solar taxes and promote affordable solar energy everywhere," the statement said.

EU member states approved a plan Wednesday to register solar panel imports from China, Reuters reported Wednesday citing anonymous diplomatic sources.

The plan would allow duties to be imposed retroactively on Chinese companies if they are found to have sold solar panels at less than the manufacturing cost, the report said.

But the diplomatic sources did not disclose when the registration would begin, according to the report.

EU Trade Spokesman John Clancy confirmed with the Global Times in an e-mail Thursday that EU companies had requested that the imports of solar panels and their main components from China be subject to registration.

"Registration of imports of a certain product in trade defense procedures is nothing out of the ordinary. It simply allows the industry concerned to mark a reference date so that there can be an option for retroactive measures if the case concludes in their favor," Clancy said.

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