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Beijing calls for talks to resolve EU trade friction

By Ding Qingfen | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-13 14:03

China and the European Union held trade consultations over cases concerning solar panels and telecoms on Friday, with Beijing calling for dialogue, rather than confrontation, to deal with trade friction, a source from the Ministry of Commerce close to the matter, told China Daily on condition of anonymity.

The EU last year announced that it would launch anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese solar panel manufacturers, while the United States imposed anti-dumping tariffs of up to 249.96 percent and countervailing duties of up to 15.97 percent on Chinese imports last year.

The bloc also threatened to investigate two major Chinese telecoms manufacturers, Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp, for alleged subsidies they got from the government and for dumping goods in the European market.

"China believes that trade problems and conflicts should be dealt with in a positive and mutually beneficial manner," the source said.

"If the two sides get involved in a trade war, it would harm both sides, weakening each other's competitiveness in the global market."

The EU has been China's largest trading partner for many years. But due to the European debt crisis, the two sides have been engaged in trade disputes over the past two years, with solar panels and telecoms being the most prominent sectors.

The two sides have conducted rounds of talks over the two issues during the past few months.

As for the solar panel case, the EU is expected to issue a preliminary anti-dumping ruling in early June and an anti-subsidy ruling in August.

The telecoms deal remains suspended.

The EU early this year required the Chinese government offer some compromise and give European telecoms players preferences in China in exchange for giving up the investigation.

Industry insiders and government officials have expressed their concern over the deal, saying the result would not be very positive.

China's trade with the European Union decreased 1.9 percent year-on-year to $124.41 billion in the first quarter, the General Administration of Customs said on Wednesday.

Trade probes into Chinese exports have become more frequent and complicated, with 21 economies launching 77 trade-remedy investigations targeting Chinese exporters in 2012, up 11.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the ministry.

Chinese exporters incurred losses worth $27.7 billion last year, up 369 percent year-on-year.

Ministry spokesman Yao Jian attributed the surge in the figures to the solar product probes launched by the EU last year, which caused export losses of $20.4 billion.

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