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The European Union has imposed tariffs of up to 42.1 per cent on solar glass imported from China.
The tariff on solar glass, which is used to produce solar panels, is set to come into force on Thursday.
The new trade row could cast a shadow over bilateral talks that are due to begin soon. China and the EU had announced at a summit last week that the two sides would begin talks on what promises to be a landmark trade treaty. To aid bilateral trade China had signed a 45 billion euro currency swap agreement with the European Union in October this year.
The European Commission alleges that Chinese manufacturers have been selling their products, in the EU at below cost, thus causing “material injury” to EU producers.
The Commission said the provisional levies, resulting from an anti-dumping investigation that it launched in February, would range from 17.1 per cent to 42.1 per cent.
The decision comes months after the EU and China amicably solved their solar panel trade dispute in August. The new duties will be in effect for six months, but could be extended by five years after the 28-member EU delivers its final ruling due next May.
Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in Romania that Beijing would continue to “support for Chinese companies to expand overseas and protection of their legitimate rights on foreign soil”.
“China will firmly oppose trade protectionism and trade remedy measures, and safeguard the legitimate rights of overseas Chinese companies,” he said.
Li, however, backed a stronger euro.
“I think cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe is in favour of the European integration process and we wish to see a prosperous, united and developed Europe, and also to see a strong euro currency,” Li told a news briefing after meeting Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta.
The European Commission is set to negotiate on an “investment agreement” with China at a meeting in Luxembourg later this month.
This could pave the way for a Free Trade Agreement between the two biggest markets in the world.
With inputs from Agencies