China files WTO complaint against EU solar subsidies

Asian giant claims subsidies provided by certain European Union member states affect the sale of Chinese photovoltaic products in the region, as the trade dispute between both parties deepens.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

China has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the European Union (EU) for alleged violation of rules over solar subsidies provided by governments of some EU member states.

In an AFP report Monday, a source close to the WTO confirmed it had received the complaint from China. The country claimed "certain measures affecting the renewable energy generation sector relating to the feed-in tariff programs of EU member states, including but not limited to Italy and Greece, include domestic content restrictions and are inconsistent with WTO rules", the source said.

A separate report by Xinhua cited Shen Danyang, who is a spokesperson for China's commerce ministry, as saying the laws of certain EU member states indicate that electricity power generated by photovoltaic installations are eligible for a specified amount of feed-in tariff subsidy, if the main components of the installations were produced within the EU and European Economic Area (EEA).

Shen said these subsidies were illegal and had significant adverse effects on the export of Chinese photovoltaic products in the regoin, Xinhua reported.

China's complaint to the WTO is the latest turn in the trade row between China and the EU, the AFP report noted.

Last Thursday, China's commerce ministry announced investigations to examine the alleged subsidies received by EU producers and exporters of solar-grade polysilicon--a key component in making solar cells--and whether EU companies were selling it at artificially low prices in China, it said.

The EU in September launched a similar probe on whether Chinese companies were selling solar panels in Europe at up to 80 percent below the actual cost.

AFP said solar industry group EU ProSun had also filed an official complaint with the European Commission over alleged illegal subsidies to Chinese firms.

Beyond the EU, China is also battling United States over what it claims to be protectionist rulings when the U.S. increased the tariffs imposed on some Chinese solar panel manufacturers.

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