China's PV sector welcomes fundamental changes

Updated: 2014-03-07 11:53
BEIJING - The Chinese solar photovoltaic (PV) industry has undergone fundamental changes after China and the European Union (EU) agreed to resolve their trade dispute in July 2013, Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said Friday.

"China's solar PV sector has been reborn within a short period of time," Gao told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature.

The dispute, in which the EU blamed Chinese solar PV makers for dumping below-cost products on the European market, involved 20 billion U.S. dollars in trade and put 400,000 jobs on the Chinese side at stake. It was the largest trade dispute concerning a single industry.

In June last year, the EU decided to impose a provisional anti-dumping duty on Chinese solar PV imports. After rounds of talks, the two sides agreed in late July to resolve the dispute through means of price undertakings.

The settlement retained the greater part of the overseas market for the Chinese solar PV sector, and offered room for the industry to thrive domestically under new policies set by the Chinese government, Gao said.

Fundamental changes have taken place in market diversification and technology, especially in product cost and added-value, according to the minister.

It taught a lesson that Chinese industries should not develop blindly and rely too much on the overseas market for sales, he said.

But Gao added that for close trading partners like China and the EU, problems are not uncommon.

The EU is China's largest trade partner. Bilateral trade between the two sides reached 566.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, Gao noted.

He told the press conference that China and the EU have both recognized that future disputes should be resolved by reaching a win-win solution through communication and negotiation, as well as through deepened cooperation between industries from both sides.

"We have the ability and wisdom to contain economic and trade disagreements," according to Gao.