China Slams U.S. Solar Probe as 'Protectionist'

'The availability of high-quality, low-priced panels in America is a blessing for the debt-ridden country's efforts to reduce emissions, and serves to avoid its green efforts being retarded by financial strains,' China said.

China on Dec. 4 accused the United States of "protectionist attitudes" towards Chinese solar panel makers and warned that a U.S. investigation could hurt global efforts to cut emissions cheaply.

A U.S. trade panel vote to continue a probe into Chinese imports "betrayed the insincerity of America ... in pushing climate talks while being indifferent to cutting emissions in an affordable way," the official Xinhua news agency said.

As countries try to reach an agreement on emission cuts at the global climate talks in Durban, "the U.S. government's protectionist attitudes towards China's solar products could pull back the global green agenda," Xinhua said.

"The availability of high-quality, low-priced panels in America is a blessing for the debt-ridden country's efforts to reduce emissions, and serves to avoid its green efforts being retarded by financial strains."

China's commerce ministry said earlier it was "deeply concerned" about the International Trade Commission's ruling on Friday that there was a "reasonable indication" that Chinese solar panel imports have harmed the U.S. industry.

"The United States should avoid abusing trade remedies which will affect bilateral trade and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and U.S. enterprises in the new energy sector," the ministry said.

The decision allows the U.S. Commerce Department to continue its probe into complaints by U.S. solar firms -- led by SolarWorld Industries America -- that China was dumping solar cells and panels in the U.S. market at prices below the cost of production.The Commerce Department investigation, which could lead to retaliatory duties on Chinese imports, sparked tit-for-tat action from China, with Beijing announcing last month a probe into U.S. subsidies for renewable energy companies.

"While censuring Chinese producers benefiting from state subsidies, the U.S. makers applied double standards by selectively ignoring the millions of dollars in tax breaks and public subsidies ... they themselves received," Xinhua said. It added that China hoped the United States would "objectively analyze" their domestic industry for the real reason US companies lacked competitiveness "before any grave consequences are incurred."

"Citing Chinese imports as a key reason for its failure would only underscore their incompetence and heighten their embarrassment if the whole industry is disrupted by the steep duties that could be levied," it said.

The United States will release its preliminary findings early next year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

TAGS: Trade
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