Business / Green China

EU solar deal hailed as blueprint

By DING QINGFEN, LI JIABAO and FU JING (China Daily) Updated: 2013-08-05 01:22

Communication from China key to settling sales dispute: experts

The European Union's endorsement of an agreement that settled a dispute with China over solar panel sales in the EU should be credited mostly to the Chinese government's "great concerns" about the matter and "efficient communication" with the EU, Chinese trade experts said.

The settlement also sends a strong signal about Sino-EU economic and trade ties, avoiding the possibility of a trade war between the major economies worldwide, and setting a good example on how the two sides can solve future trade disagreements through consultation and communication, they said.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, on Friday endorsed a negotiated settlement with China that sets a minimum price and a volume limit on EU imports of Chinese solar panels through 2015.

The agreement will take effect on Tuesday. Chinese manufacturers that agree to it will avoid punitive duties that the 28-nation bloc had planned to impose.

The European Commission said an overwhelming majority of member states voted in favor of the deal and no member state voted against it.

"China's top leadership has played a key role in bringing a good solution to the dispute," said Chen Xin, director of the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

He Maochun, director of the Economy and Diplomacy Research Center at Tsinghua University, said: "All levels of the Chinese government — including the State Council, led by Premier Li Keqiang — got involved in the deal. The consultations were highly efficient, and it is the first time that such a case has raised such high concerns from the government."

After the EU announced plans to investigate China's solar exports, China repeatedly expressed opposition to the investigation and tariffs, and government officials, led by Li, sought consultations with the EU at various levels.

During his nine-day visit to four Asian and European countries in May, his first such trip since he assumed office, the premier expressed great concern about the deal on many occasions and he repeatedly said China opposes trade protectionism and any sort of abuse of trade cases.

After Li returned from Europe, he held talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso over the phone, emphasizing China's stance on the issue, and pointed out that the solar panel dispute affected China's major economic interests.

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