China Focus: Chinese photovoltaic companies call on European Commission to halt protectionism

Updated: 2012-09-06 19:26:00

(Xinhua)

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BEIJING, September 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese photovoltaic (PV) companies on Thursday called on the European Commission to halt protectionism after it decided to launch an anti-dumping probe into Chinese solar exports.

In July, Germany's SolarWorld and several European enterprises filed an anti-dumping complaint regarding Chinese solar products with the European Commission.

The commission said the products subject to the investigation ares crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules, or panels, cells and wafers of the type used in crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules or panels.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said Thursday that the country "deeply regrets" the European Commission's decision.

"Restricting China's solar panel products will not only hurt the interests of both the Chinese and European solar industries, it will also undermine the healthy development of the global solar and clean energy sector," Shen said.

He urged the EU to scrap existing protectionist measures and to refrain from introducing new protectionist policies before 2014 .

The Chinese side calls on the EU to consider China's position and resolve solar panel frictions through consultations, Shen said.

Industry insiders have previously stated that if the EU initiates an investigation, a large number of Chinese PV companies could face bankruptcy.

Liang Tian, director of public relations at Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited, one of the largest PV manufacturers in the world, said the investigation may affect exports in the second half of the year.

China's solar product exports were valued at 35.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, with the EU receiving a share of more than 60 percent, reaching 20.4 billion U.S. dollars.

Chinese PV companies, worried about potential damage to their profitability, are now making preparations for the investigation.

"We will closely cooperate with the European Commission in order to prove that the conditions for the imposition of punitive tariffs have not been fulfilled," said Miao Liansheng, chairman and chief executive officer of Yingli Green Energy.

Darren Thompson, managing director of Yingli Green Energy Europe, said the solar industry is based on a globalized and complex value chain and it will therefore be substantially and negatively affected by trade protectionism.

"There will be no winners, but rather immeasurable damage and regression from our fundamental goal of making solar a cost-effective energy source available to everyone," Thompson said.

Shi Zhengrong, chairman and chief executive officer of Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., said Suntech will ally with more than 70 enterprises in European countries to gain support from EU delegations.

Shi said a professional anti-dumping group with experienced lawyers has been organized to help with the case.

"China should reject the imposition of anti-dumping or countervailing duties on solar products that directly affect people's lives, as these products are closely connected with the public interest," Liang said.

Liu Dajun, a researcher at the Commission of Industry and Information Technology of east China's Jiangxi province, said the government should take effective measures to strengthen communication with relevant countries and aid Chinese enterprises.

The Ministry of Commerce needs to guide domestic companies and bring them together to deal with international trade barriers, Liu said.