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German industries concerned over EU anti-dumping duties against China

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-06-05 16:51

BERLIN -- The German industries on Tuesday expressed concerns over the European Union's decision to impose provisional anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar products.

In a statement issued on late Tuesday, German Federation of Industry said it regrets EU's decision.

"BDI urgently appeals to both sides to find a mutually acceptable solution," said Stefan Mair, Executive Board Member of the Federation.

According to the European Commission's decision, EU imports of Chinese solar products would be subject to a punitive duty of 11.8 percent from June 6 to August 6, from when on, the duty will be raised to 47.6 percent.

"Prices of solar products (in Europe) will rise," Ilja Nothnagel, Foreign Trade Director of Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

"There may have two effects. First, maybe it is easier for producers of solar panels (in Europe) to become competitive again; secondly, of course importers will be harmed," he said.

"Rising prices mean that maybe some investment will be cut down, maybe some importers will go down, maybe some less solar panels will be put on the roof, then all those craftsmen installing the panels on the roof are hit," added Nothnagel.

Also on Tuesday, the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy, a coalition of over 600 companies in the European photovoltaic industry, issued a petition to EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht before he announced the tariff imposing decision, appealing to halt the tariff.

"The EU Commission's proposed import tariffs on solar panels directly harm the EU's fight against climate change," the petition letter read, "They will make solar energy, a major tool in combating climate change, more expensive than dirty coal or nuclear."

Nothnagel from DIHK said that the Chamber was worried about a start of a trade war between EU and China.

"The bilateral trade is important for the economic development. Building up barriers in trade will harm both economies," he said, adding that "there are better ways to solve the problem than imposing tariff."

In an interview on Tuesday, German Economic Minister Philipp Roesler also called EU's provisional anti-dumping measures a "serious mistake," warning that "mutual threats are out of place".

"Since the Federal Economic Ministry, the BDI and the DIHK have the view for the whole economy, we know that imposing trade barriers, tariffs, will harm German economy itself," Nothnagel said.

"Germany and China have benefited greatly in recent years by their economic interdependence. The bilateral trade now accounts for 30 percent of total trade between China and the EU," said Mair from BDI, urging EU and China to find a negotiated solution by the end of the year, when a decision should be made of whether the tariff should be implemented in a longer term or should be abolished.

"Now should be the time window to negotiate about difficulties in trade between EU and China," Nothnagel said.

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