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China Daily Website

Solar companies cancel protest against EU

Updated: 2012-08-02 20:07
By Meng Jing in Baoding, Hebei (

A scheduled workers' protest at China's four largest solar panel companies against the filing of an anti-dumping complaint in the European Union was called off Thursday morning.

But the companies said that they are still firm in their position against the complaint.

The protest was the latest outcry from the four top solar panel makers in China against the complaint led by Solarworld AG, Germany's biggest solar panel company.

More than 10,000 employees at Yingli Green Energy Holdings Co, Trina Solar Ltd, Canadian Solar Inc and Suntech Power Holdings were scheduled to stop working on Thursday morning for an hour-long demonstration against the complaint, which was filed to the European Commission last week.

Solarworld asked the European Union to investigate claims that Chinese panel makers are dumping products. The German company is seeking import tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels.

Baoding-based Yingli Green Energy in North China's Hebei province cited bad weather as the reason for the cancellation of the protest, which was scheduled to take place between 8 am and 9 am, but said they will continue to urge Beijing to hold high-level talks with the European Union to stop the investigation.

The European Commission has 45 days, until early September, to decide if it will start an investigation.

"We had to cancel the protest due to the bad weather conditions in Jiangsu and Hainan provinces. But it doesn't change our position against the complaint, which will be catastrophic for us and the development of the global solar industry, " said Liang Tian, director of public relations with Yingli Green Energy.

He added that around 5,000 to 6,000 workers in his company's five plants across China were expected to join the protest.

Liang said that the company, which exports more than half of its production to Europe, is going through a tough time but that it has no plans to cut jobs or to lower salaries for now.

The Chinese companies said in a joint statement from a press conference last week that the solar industries in China and Europe are "interdependent".

Europe's exports of solar industry related raw materials and production equipment to China were around $7.5 billion in 2011. As many as 280,000 to 300,000 jobs in Europe have been created by China's solar industry directly or indirectly by the end of 2011, the statement said.

"Any damage to China's solar industry will damage the world's solar industry," Liang said.

In May, the US Department of Commerce ruled that China's solar panel makers are dumping goods and receiving unfair subsidies. In recent days, the Chinese government has initiated the process of paying back the US in the same coin by starting an investigation of US polysilicon imports.

Meanwhile, Chen Zhuo, Yingli Green Energy's legal director, said that their top priority is to stop the European anti-dumping complaint at this stage.

"Once an investigation starts, it will be the largest anti-dumping case against Chinese companies," said Chen.

Last year, China exported about 60 percent of its total solar panel production, which is worth $35.8 billion, to Europe, Chen said.