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Dumping accusations of Chinese solar panels and EU wine

Solar panels vs. wine: China retaliates against EU gripe

(Photo: cquarles/yashima)

China has been coming in for persistent criticism from the US and Europe because Chinese solar panels are being dumped on world markets. In retaliation, Beijing is claiming that European wine is being sold below market prices to Chinese consumers.

German solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld led other European panel makers in a protest last month, asking the European Commission to investigate China's alleged sale of the energy-generating panels below cost price. Chinese solar panel makers faced similar complaints in the US earlier this year; the US government imposed anti-dumping levies on the product.

The solar panel market has been dominated by Chinese companies for a number of years. They are held responsible for the substantial fall in prices paid for the panels.

Analysts outside China say that the easy credits from Chinese government banks for solar panel manufacturers are nothing but state funding. The easy money has led to huge overproduction and a high debt burden among Chinese producers, Reuters agency reported last week. It is expected that many of the smaller panel manufacturing companies will not survive, and that Beijing will stimulate the largest manufacturers to merge.

Solar panels versus wine
But China is not taking the European and American accusations of dumping just like that. China Daily reported on it frontpage on Tuesday that the Chinese sector organisation of alcoholic beverage makers requested an inquiry into the import of European wine.

Director Wang Zuming of the Chinese wine producers' association told China Daily that there was "a clear intention to sell European wines in the Chinese market at below-cost price".

European wines held a 14.3 percent market share in China last year, against 5 percent in 2008. Chinese imports of wines from the European Union - particularly from France, Spain and Italy - rose by 24 percent.

Trade expert Zhou Shijian of Thinghua University told China Daily that the Chinese complaint about European wines does not come out of the blue. "China has the capacity to fight back if the EU launches an investigation into China’s solar products,” he said. He warned that "it will do more harm than good to the EU". - (IEDE)

(Header photo based on pictures by cquarles and yashima)

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