EU trade chief unfazed by China muscle-flexing in solar row | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 28.05.2013
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EU trade chief unfazed by China muscle-flexing in solar row

The EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht has vowed not to drop plans for higher duties on solar panels from China. He has called Beijing's efforts to pressure the European Commission a waste of time.

In the solar panel trade dispute between the European Union and China, EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht turned up the heat, saying he was not impressed by a Chinese attempt to put pressure on EU member states.

"I couldn't care less whether that happens with the biggest and most populous state in the world," he told a meeting of the European Parliament's Trade Committee on Tuesday.

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Gucht also said he was aware of the external pressure China had been exerting recently, but added that Beijing was wasting its time trying to do so with him.

The EU trade chief is a strong advocate of punitive tariffs on Chinese solar panel exports to the EU. The European Commission, the bloc's main executive body, is planning to slap duties of up to 47 percent on China-made solar equipment. The commission accuses Beijing of undercutting market prices with state subsidies.

But a majority of EU governments have opposed the plan, apparently out of fear that their booming business ties with the Asian economic powerhouse will be hurt. In the past two weeks, China already imposed higher duties on imports of unwelded pipes, as well as announced anti-dumping measures against European chemicals makers.

The EU commission will decide on June 5 whether or not to impose the punitive tariffs on Chinese solar exports. However, EU member states have the power to overrule the decision.

uhe/slk (Reuters, AFP)

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