The European Union and China have both signaled interest in bringing about a negotiated solution to their spat over solar panel tariffs. But they warned that a settlement was unlikely to appear overnight.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said on Friday that Brussels desired a speedy end to a trade dispute with Beijing, over duties imposed on Chinese solar panels amid accusations of price dumping and unfair state subsidies for the industry.
The EU executive earlier this month slapped an average tariff of 11.8 percent on solar panel imports from China. Duties are to rise to 47.6 percent on August 6, if no negotiations are underway based on a Chinese commitment to address the issue.
A lot at stake
Gao confirmed to reporters that both sides "had the wish and goodwill to address the solar panel issue."
Brussels and Beijing are also involved in a series of disputes covering other products, ranging from steel pipes to wine. The recent tit-for-tat trade infringement accusations have triggered concerns over the repercussions they may cause to broader business relations between the two sides.
Total bilateral trade last year already fell by 3.7 percent, with China's imports from the 27-member EU rising 0.4 percent, while shipments in the opposite direction tumbled 6.2 percent year-on-year.
China is the world's largest producer of solar panels and related products, with its industry exporting goods worth $21 billion (27.5 billion euros) annually to the European Union.
hg/jr (dpa, AFP)