China ready to act in PV cell probe

Updated: 2011-11-29 09:26

By Du Juan and Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

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Nation will take measures 'if there is any bad consequence', minister says

BEIJING - China has prepared for the worst outcome of the US investigation into the Chinese photovoltaic (PV) solar cells industry, a senior official said, indicating that the government will act accordingly if any tariffs are imposed.

China ready to act in PV cell probe

A worker assembles a solar power panel for Eoplly New Energy Technology Co Ltd in Hai'an county, Jiangsu province.[Photo/China Daily]

China already communicated with US officials about the investigation during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in the US, Chen Deming, minister of commerce, told China Daily after the Fifth Member Congress of the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment on Monday.

"Once there is any bad consequence from the investigation, we are ready to take measures," he said.

In October, several US solar cell companies filed a petition with the US Department of Commerce (DOC) and the International Trade Commission, alleging that Chinese companies got illegal subsidies from the government and sold solar panels below cost on the US market.

On Nov 9, the DOC held an initial hearing and then announced it was launching an investigation into the Chinese companies.

Li Junfeng, secretary-general of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, said any tariffs imposed on Chinese PV solar cell products, regardless of the amount, would inflict huge damage on the industry.

"The Chinese PV solar panel industry depends heavily on the overseas market, with more than 95 percent of its products for export to the US and European market, and this is dangerous for healthy and sustainable development," said Gao Hongling, deputy secretary-general of the China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance.

"The Ministry of Commerce's statement shows that the government knows better than before how to use the international trade tools under the World Trade Organization framework to protect the development of the domestic industries, pursuing a fair global market," said Li Lei, a lawyer with the law firm Sidley Austin who is representing the Chinese solar cell enterprises.

He said that the Chinese government showing its stance is good news for the Chinese solar companies, given that US President Barack Obama and the US government showed support for the US solar companies soon after their petition.

"The quick action of the Chinese companies clearly shows that they know better how to protect their rights and benefits in the global market," he said.

On Friday, China started an investigation into US government support and subsidies for its renewable energy sector at the request of domestic industry associations, which argue that the US subsidy and support policies created unreasonable barriers for the renewable-energy industry in China, according to a commerce ministry statement.

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co, Trina Solar Ltd, Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd and Canadian Solar Inc - the four largest solar companies in China - will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon on the US anti-dumping and anti-subsidies investigation.

This will be the first time the Chinese solar cell companies speak to the domestic media together since the investigation started.