Protectionism warned in solar panel sector

Updated: 2011-11-14 09:56


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NANCHANG - Chinese officials on Saturday warned of rising international protectionism in the solar panel sector, noting China's manufacturers should keep alert and work to expand domestic market to reduce reliance on foreign demand.

The excessive reliance on foreign market creates great risks for domestic solar panel producers, Ding Wenwu, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a forum in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi province.

"Any policy change in foreign countries will cause turbulence in the domestic industry," he said.

China's solar energy sector has been booming in recent years as the country is looking to new energy resources to trim reliance on coal and oil.

Currently, China leads the world in solar cell manufacturing and exports, with more than 90 percent of its products exported.

Ding's comments came after the US Department of Commerce said Wednesday that it will conduct an investigation to determine whether Chinese companies have been selling solar panels in the United States at unfair discounts and receiving illegimate government subsidies.

"International trade protectionism is on the rise, and Chinese enterprises should keep alert," he noted.

His view was echoed by Gao Hongling, deputy secretary-general of China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance, who said the US move will not only hurt Chinese manufacturers, and US producers as well since China imported raw materials and equipment from the US suppliers.

She said her agency will keep close watch over the development and is discussing with Chinese producers about whether to take action to defend themselves.

"Some US enterprises that have partnerships with the Chinese manufacturers have also promised to join us to oppose the imposition of anti-dumping duties," she added.

The US decision to launch an investigation aroused dissatisfaction from China, said Shen Danyang, spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce, adding the probe could damage energy cooperation between the two countries and hamper world efforts to deal with climate change.

China reserves the right to take corresponding measures within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Shen said.