According to French newspaper Les Echo, China has launched a dumping probe against European chemical firms. The move follows EU punitive tariffs on China solar panels in an ongoing trade dispute.
China had informed the European Commission that European chemicals companies, notably Belgian group Solvay, were the focus of an anti-dumping investigation, France's daily newspaper Les Echo reported Monday.
The formal complaint was launched last week, Les Echo wrote, and affected mainly products made of perchloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene. Similar action was reportedly planned against United States chemical companies.
The move follows a complaint made by China two weeks ago against EU companies that produce unwelded pipes, including French group Vallourec.
China accuses firms from the two sectors of selling their products below cost to win market share and eliminate competitors. Trade experts see the Chinese complaints as coming in retaliation to European Union anti-dumping procedures.
Earlier this month, the EU Commission imposed a higher customs duty of about 47 percent on Chinese solar panels, accusing Beijing of undercutting market prices with hefty state subsidies. In addition, EU authorities announced a probe into Chinese manufacturers of mobile network equipment amid claims they sell their products at a loss.
Germany seeks end to row
Meanwhile, German chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will use her country's economic clout to stop the European Commission's trade actions.
Merkel told visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday, that Germany would push for very intense talks between the EU and China in search for negotiated solutions to the trade disputes as swiftly as possible.
China's Premier Li warned that punitive tariffs, notably in the solar sector, would hurt European consumers as well as European industries.
German industry opposes the EU's anti-dumping measures against China for fear an escalating trade war might hurt booming business ties with the Asian economic powerhouse.
uhe (AFP, AP, dpa)