China seeks negotiations on solar panels

March 8, 2013 at 6:05 AM
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BEIJING, March 8 (UPI) -- China wants to use negotiations to address a dispute with the European Union over Chinese solar-panel shipments, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said Friday.

The issue involves complaints of alleged "dumping" of solar panels in EU markets by Chinese manufacturers. EU companies say the Chinese companies are selling the panels below their market value.

Chen urged EU politicians and companies to negotiate to avoid greater losses to both sides.

"We hope to address the dispute through negotiations between Chinese and European companies and boost our industrial cooperation and seek third-party markets," Chen told a news conference, Xinhua reported.

China's plea came after the European Union said it would investigate alleged state subsidies for Chinese solar-panel makers, apart from an existing investigation into the alleged dumping, Xinhua said.

If found to be true, it could result in the European Union imposing duties on Chinese solar panels.

Negotiations "should join our hands to tide through the difficult times for exploring greater market shares," Chen said.

Chinese official data showed the European Union was China's largest trading partner last year despite a 3.7-percent decline to $546.04 billion, followed by a China-U.S. trade volume of $484.68 billion.

The Commerce Ministry said more than 90 percent of Chinese solar products are exported, with 70 percent going to the eurozone and 10 percent to the U.S. market.

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