EU-China talks dwell on subsidies


A press release issued by the EU today made oblique reference to the ongoing anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese solar wafers, cells and modules in the wake of the latest round of EU-China trade talks.

Brussels yesterday staged the fourth meeting of the high level economic and trade dialogue (HED) between the EU and China with European vice president for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn and trade commissioner Karel de Gucht in talks with Chinese vice premier Ma Kai and seven ministers and vice ministers from the Chinese government.

As part of the HED, which is preparing the economic and trade elements of the forthcoming 16th EU-China summit, it was revealed the representatives discussed trade friction and specifically mentioned state owned companies and subsidy policy.

An EU press release about the HED said delegates ‘discussed the management of trade frictions, and how to better manage our trading relationship more generally.’

Subsidies and their effect on trade relations

Regarding the allegations by EU solar manufacturers Chinese rivals benefit from state subsidies – the subject of an ongoing EU investigation, the press release added: "Discussions addressed how industrial policies, including subsidies policies and financing of state-owned enterprises, can affect international trade and investment relations.

"Avenues were explored for working together to reach common understanding on contentious issues and provide a framework for increasing transparency and dealing with subsidies behaviours which cannot be addressed constructively through WTO (World Trade Organization) mechanisms."

The European Commission is expected to present its proposals for any definitive anti subsidy duties to the European Council for adoption by November 7, with a final decision on duties due to be reached in early December.

The same date is set down for member states to decide whether a trade deal – involving a minimum module price commitment – negotiated by de Gucht and his Chinese counterparts this year will be made permanent to resolve a separate anti dumping complaint about Chinese-made solar products.