China’s solar panel manufacturers have received surprise help from Danish Trade Minister Pia Olsen Dyhr in their dispute with the European Commission which on June 4 decided to impose provisional anti-dumping duties on imports of solar panels, cells and wafers from China.
“Using trade defense measures against Chinese solar products is against the interests of the European Union (EU),” Pia Dyhr Olsen was quoted by the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
“When using an anti-dumping mechanism, you have to prove two things, not just politically but also legally. First, you have to demonstrate that there is dumping, and then, that the dumping is against the EU’s interests,” she said.
As far as the solar panel case is concerned, no matter whether there is so-called “dumping” by Chinese producers, the European Commission has not actually proven that this is against the EU’s interests, she said.
“It’s clear for us that the ongoing trade defense case will harm the relations with China,”and, “this will also be, for sure, against the interests of the EU,” Pia Olsen Dyhr told Xinhua.
Starting from June 6, EU imports of Chinese solar products were subject to a punitive duty of 11.8 percent until Aug. 6, from when on, the duty will be raised to 47.6 percent if the two sides can not sort out the dispute through negotiation.
The conflict presented by Xinhua
The Xinhua article continues to present what seems to be Chinese view of the conflict and the breach in the EU front, that they have found.
“Due to its “disastrous” impacts on jobs and business along the EU’s photovoltaic (PV) industry value chain, the European Commission’s decision has triggered wide spread opposition from EU member states and solar firms,” the article states and continues:
A total of 18 EU member states including Denmark voted against the European Commission’s proposal to impose preliminary anti-dumping duties on imported Chinese solar products in late May, according to sources.
Earlier this month, over 30 business leaders representing over 740 European solar companies said in a hearing in the European Commission that the anti-dumping duties have already led to order cancellations and job cuts.
The punitive tariffs would cause a remarkable shrinking demand for solar installations and services in the EU’s solar industry, thus creating job losses, a study by the independent economic institute Prognos showed earlier this year.
The minister urged the two sides to sort out the trade case through negotiation, otherwise the EU-China economic relations would be damaged.
“I think it’s important to have high on the agenda EU-China relations when you use the trade defense mechanism against China, because this has a potential risk at not just the trade level, but also the political level,” she said.
“Denmark considers China a very important trade partner. As the commercial relations are developing very rapidly, I think we should be cautious about using anti-dumping measure,” she said.
Concerning the negotiation, the minister said she “saw a window of opportunities that we shouldn’t miss, and I hope that we will find a solution soon not only for Europe but also for China.”
“If we apply our trade defense mechanism, we are not paving our way for better trade relations with China. I really hope we can find a solution,” Pia Olsen Dyhr said.