Ministry urges prudence over solar dispute

Updated: 2014-07-29 06:15

By XIE YU in Shanghai and AMY HE in New York (China Daily USA)

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China's Ministry of Commerce has urged the United States to handle the latest dispute over solar trade "prudently," saying that trade friction is unavoidable but governments have a responsibility to prevent it from harming China-US relations.

The ministry's comment on Monday followed a preliminary decision by the US Commerce Department on July 25 to extend punitive duties on Chinese solar products. The department imposed anti-dumping duties as high as 165.05 percent on solar panels and cells from the Chinese mainland, on top of countervailing duties set a month earlier. Producers from Taiwan also face anti-dumping duties of up to 44.18 percent.

"China strongly disapproves of the US action," an unidentified official from the trade remedies and investigations bureau of the Commerce ministry said in a statement on its website.

The statement said the US government's latest investigation of Chinese solar products is increasing trade friction and could hurt the upstream and downstream sectors of the solar industry in both countries.

"The frequent adoption of trade remedies cannot resolve the US solar industry's development problems. We hope the US can prudently handle this investigation, quickly end investigation procedures and create a good environment for competition in the global solar industry," the statement said.

Trade friction is unavoidable, but governments have a responsibility to prevent it from harming China-US relations, the official said.

The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products also expressed its "strong disapproval" in a statement on Monday, saying the Chinese companies will "take every legal measure" to protect their rights and interests and firmly resist any individual company's "selfish" behavior that disturbs the global solar industry.

"The ruling is actually worse than expected. It is mainly focused on solar modules manufactured in the mainland that use solar cells made in Taiwan," said Li Rongkun, general manager of Phono Solar Technology Co Ltd, which is based in East China's Jiangsu province.

The latest round of investigations into Chinese solar products, which began earlier this year, are meant to "close a loophole" allegedly used by Chinese manufacturers since 2012, when the US imposed tariffs on solar cells made in the Chinese mainland.

The cells are the building blocks of solar panels. Chinese mainland c