Merkel, Li call for end to EU-China solar trade row

Sun May 26, 2013 2:21pm EDT
 
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By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday called for an end to a trade row between Europe and China over solar panels and wireless equipment, telling a joint news conference they were both for free trade.

The European Union accuses China of pricing its solar panels and mobile telecom devices too cheaply and "dumping" them in Europe to corner the market. It plans to impose duties on Chinese panel makers.

China denies the allegations.

Merkel said Germany would do everything it could to prevent the trade dispute from escalating to the point where the European Commission imposed import duties on Chinese panel makers.

"Germany will do what it can so that there are no permanent import duties and we'll try to clear things up as quickly as possible," Merkel told reporters after a meeting with Li in Berlin. "We don't believe that this will help us so we want to use the next six months intensively."

The European Union is considering whether to impose punitive import duties on solar panels from China after the United States levied its own duties last year - a move opposed by Beijing.

China has threatened to retaliate if the EU pushes ahead with the investigation.

Li, standing next to Merkel at the briefing that followed the signing of a range of business agreements, said a trade dispute between the EU and China would harm both sides and benefit neither.   Continued...

 
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address a news conference after talks in Berlin May 26, 2013. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz