by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 2, 2012
A Chinese industry group on Thursday denied accusations solar manufacturers used state subsidies to sell products below cost in Europe, and urged Brussels not to launch an investigation.
EU ProSun, a group of more than 20 European solar panel makers, suspects Beijing of providing their Chinese rivals with loans and other subsidies that enable them to "dump" their goods.
They have filed a complaint with the European Commission calling for it to impose tariffs, following a US move in May to slap hefty anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar products. Beijing blasted the US move as "protectionist".
Wang Guiqing, vice president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME), denied the allegations and called on Europe to deal with the complaint properly.
"China's photovoltaic industry has never conducted unfair trade with any country or region in the world, let alone dumping," he told reporters.
"We urge the European Commission ... to handle this case in a prudent and fair way," he said, adding the Chinese solar industry "firmly opposes" protectionism.
Sun Guangbin, secretary general of the CCCME's solar branch, argued that Chinese manufacturers were more competitive because of falling costs, technology innovation, economies of scale and better management.
The price of polysilicon -- a key panel ingredient -- has slumped to around $20 per kilogramme from as high as $400 per kilogramme in 2008, he said.
He added that it was a "misunderstanding" that Chinese solar cell manufacturers had gained an unfair advantage from government subsidies.
Sun said any Chinese government support is aimed at helping users of solar energy rather than producers.
For example, the government subsidies the country's electricity grid operators to encourage them to adopt solar power, he said, which is more expensive to purchase than energy from average sources such as coal.
More than 60 percent of China's $35.8 billion of solar product exports went to the European Union last year, while the nation imported $7.5 billion-worth of European solar equipment and raw materials, Chinese industry data showed.
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Breakthrough leads to record efficiency for next-gen solar cells
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