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Business

China has WTO look into EU solar power subsidies

China has launched a dispute at the World Trade Organization over what it calls illegal EU support for the European solar power industry. Beijing says some European policies on solar power generation violate WTO rules.

China on Monday lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the European Union's support for its solar power components industry. The dispute adds to an already large number of claims of unfair competition in the renewables sector.

China's Ministry of Commerce maintained some EU nations' legislation provided financial help for solar power generation, if components for the projects in question were produced in Europe itself.

"The subsidies constitute a violation on WTO prohibitions on import replacement aid," a spokesman for the ministry, Shen Danyang, said in a statement. "They seriously affect Chinese exports and harm China's rightful interests as a WTO member."

Tit for tat?

Shen added all countries should strengthen industry cooperation instead of adopting protectionist measures based on short-term interests.

China asked for consultations with the EU on the matter. Should no solution be reached within 60 days, it would be allowed to demand that the WTO pass a final ruling.

Beijing's move came only days after it opened an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe into EU polysilicon, a material used to make solar panels. The EU for its part has frequently accused China of supporting dumping prices for solar panels at state level.

hg/msh (Reuters, AP)