Merkel opposes EU trade action over Chinese solar imports

Chancellor Angela Merkel

Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come out against the prospect of EU action against China over alleged dumping of solar products, calling for the dispute to be solved by talks rather than trade tariffs.

Merkel’s surprise singling-out of the solar issue while on a visit to Beijing comes as the European Commission (EC) decides whether to launch a fair-trade investigation following a complaint by German PV giant SolarWorld.

The Chancellor told reporters in the Chinese capital she hoped an anti-dumping inquiry could be avoided. “There’s still time, and it would be better to solve this in talks,” Merkel said.

Although the decision is one for the European authorities, Merkel’s intervention during a high-profile German trade visit raises the solar issue’s importance in the broader political and economic context.

The Chinese authorities are reported to have voiced their displeasure at the prospect of "protectionist" EU action over solar as the two nations discussed trade deals worth billions of euros in sectors such as aerospace and automotive.

The EC must decide within the next few weeks whether to launch an investigation following the late-July filing of the complaint by SolarWorld and a group of other, unnamed, European PV manufacturers.

SolarWorld was also the driving force behind the complaint that led to preliminary tariffs being imposed on China-made solar cells by the US authorities.

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