China, EU talk over trade disputes

May 27, 2013 at 2:14 AM
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BRUSSELS, May 27 (UPI) -- Chinese officials were in Brussels Monday to resolve the trade dispute with the European Union over exports of solar panels and wireless telecom equipment.

The meeting, led by Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan and European Commission Director General for Trade Jean-Luc Demarty, was set after the EU launched several trade remedy probes targeting Chinese goods, Chinese officials said.

The EU says China has been using cheap pricing to dump its solar panels and telecom devices to corner the market in Europe but Beijing denies the charge. China is concerned because the EU could impose punitive duties on Chinese solar panels.

Trade disputes between China and the EU have been increasing lately.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported the EU also proposed opening an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into mobile telecommunications equipment imported from China. The report said the move is believed to be aimed at Huawei and ZTE, China's two largest telecoms system and equipment producers.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang has warned any punitive duties on Chinese solar panels would severely impair bilateral trade ties. He said China's "preference to use dialogue and negotiations to resolve the frictions has not changed."

Official Chinese media reported that a coalition of over 580 European solar companies demonstrated in Brussels last week to protest the planned anti-dumping duties of up to 69 percent on Chinese-made solar products, which could result in a loss of more than 200,000 jobs.

The New York Times said the 27-nation EU is China's biggest trading partner, with Chinese exports totaling about $377 billion last year. The report said the anti-dumping investigation of Chinese solar panel makers began after a complaint from a European industry association.

China currently exports about $27 billion worth of solar panels to Europe.

The Times quoted a source close to the European negotiating team played down the current Chinese effort for dialogue, saying serious talks negotiations will start only after the European Commission announces the customs tariffs.

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