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China, EU 'goodwill' voiced in solar row

By DING QINGFEN and LI JIABAO | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-22 01:33

Both sides have the willingness and sincerity to deal with issue: minister

China and the European Union have expressed "goodwill" for negotiating a settlement of their dispute over China's solar panel exports, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said on Friday.

Gao said the two sides have a consensus that a settlement will have to be reasonable and acceptable to each other.

The European Commission accuses China of dumping solar panels on the EU at below production cost. On June 4, it announced the imposition of 11.8 percent punitive tariffs on imports from China for two months starting from June 6, despite 18 of the 27 EU member states, including Germany, opposing the move.

"Both China and the EU have willingness and sincerity to appropriately deal with the solar panel case through negotiations, and we are also striving for this," Gao said.

He was speaking during a joint press briefing with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht after the annual bilateral China-EU trade and investment meeting in Beijing.

"We expect the two sides to take a pragmatic and flexible approach in the following rounds of talks, enhancing coordination and cooperation in a bid to reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial, reasonable and mutually acceptable," Gao said.

Some European countries, led by Germany, are opposed to the commission's imposition of duties, with Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands last week urging De Gucht to find a diplomatic solution with China to avoid a tit-for-tat trade war.

But De Gucht went ahead with tariffs at 11.8 percent, although he softened his earlier plan to levy punitive tariffs averaging 47 percent, leaving a window for the two sides to reach a solution through negotiations by early August.

The negotiations with China are expected to include setting a minimum price at which Chinese solar panel manufacturers can sell in the EU.

"During past days, both China and the EU have been holding communication, contact and consultation at all levels ... the bilateral talks are positive and constructive," Gao said.

China expects to end the negotiations and agree on a deal over the price by August 6, Gao added.

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