US punitive tariffs hurt all sides: minister

Updated: 2012-11-10 17:57


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BEIJING - China's top trade official said Saturday China does not want a trade war with the United States but must defend the legitimate interests of Chinese enterprises from being damaged by others.

The remarks by Minister of Commerce Chen Deming came at a group interview on the sidelines of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which opened on Thursday.

The US International Trade Commission earlier this week approved a plan to levy anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules from China, saying that the US solar industry was materially injured by the imports.

Chen said the US government's plan to levy heavy punitive tariffs on Chinese solar products will hurt the interests of all sides.

China's solar product manufacturers import more than 40 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) worth of equipment from the United States and billions of dollars of raw materials from many countries each year, and trade frictions in such globalized industries will surely harm all parties, Chen said.

Chen argued that the lower price in solar products exported by China to the United States in the recent two years was a result of more advanced technologies and cheaper raw materials such as polycrystalline silicon, whose prices on the global market plunged by 90 percent at the lowest point.

He pressed for solving trade disputes through negotiations, noting that "nobody can afford a trade war."

The Obama administration should fulfill its promise on expanding exports of high-tech products to China, abandon trade protectionism and promote free trade, which will also benefit the US economic recovery, said Chen.

China's trade with the United States, the country's second-largest trade partner, climbed 9.1 percent year on year to $396.09 billion in the first ten months of the year, according to the latest Customs data.

Bilateral trade reached $446.6 billion last year.