Beijing on Friday denied accusations of solar panel dumping, saying it hoped Chinese and EU manufacturers could negotiate an end to a dispute that threatens a trade war.
EU ProSun, a group of more than 20 European solar panel makers, suspects Beijing of providing their Chinese rivals with loans and other subsidies enabling them to sell their goods below cost.
They have filed a complaint with the European Commission calling for it to impose tariffs, following a U.S. move in May to slap hefty anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar products which Beijing blasted as "protectionist."
Beijing's commerce ministry backed the Chinese firms, saying falling export prices were due to the cost of polysilicon, a key panel ingredient, dropping from $300 a kilogram in 2008 to $30 now, new technology and economies of scale.
"There is therefore no basis to consider that Chinese photovoltaic cells are being dumped," it said in a statement on its website.
It said that Chinese firms themselves imported key components and technology needed for solar panel manufacturing from Europe and the U.S., adding that Chinese products helped create jobs among installers.
"We hope that representatives of European and Chinese companies will be able to resolve their differences through negotiations and find a way forward that benefits both parties," it said.
The government comments came after four leading Chinese manufacturers said in a joint statement Thursday that their industry would suffer a "deadly blow" if the EU launched an anti-dumping investigation.
Such a probe would "trigger a full scale trade war between China and Europe", they added, saying China was a major market for European products including cars, aircraft and luxury goods.
More than 60% of China's $35.8 billion of solar product exports went to the EU last year, the statement said, while China imported $7.5 billion-worth of European solar equipment and raw materials.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012