Merkel urges dialogue to solve EU-China solar dispute

Updated: 2012-09-18 10:06


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BERLIN -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed Monday that her position after the European Commission launched an anti-dumping investigation against China solar companies that the issue should be settled through political dialogue.

"There are very clear deadlines in the process of such (anti-dumping) cases. The deadline of opening the case has now come," Merkel said when answering a question from Xinhua, adding that the EU investigation is the need of legal procedures.

"But whether it will follow with provisional measures, yes or no, will be decided several months later," she said. "That time is available to us for what I discussed with (Chinese) Premier Wen Jiabao, namely, a dialogue."

In July, Germany's SolarWorld and other European solar panel makers filed a complaint seeking import tariffs on Chinese-made solar products, claiming that their Chinese competitors have received low-interest loans from the government.

The European commission decided to start a formal investigation on September 6, which activated the largest trade dispute involving China in terms of trade volume. China's solar product exports were valued at $35.8 billion in 2011. The EU receives a share of more than 60 percent, or $20.4 billion.

During her visit to China, Merkel told Premier Wen that she hoped the European Commission and China could solve the issue through communication, rather than by resorting to anti-dumping proceedings.

"We want to solve this dispute politically, through dialogue, and we should use the time when investigating the case. There are many months to go and we should get started soon," the chancellor said.

"This is not only the hope of Germany, but also of the European Commission," she said, adding that she heard some German companies are now open to start a negotiation.

Merkel believed that no one in the EU nations would want to block such a dialogue, and the two sides should put all facts and questions on the table and discuss them thoroughly and substantially.