UPDATE 2-China opens WTO front in solar power war with EU

Mon Nov 5, 2012 10:18am EST
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* Beijing lodges complaint with world trade body

* Argues pricing in Greece, Italy favoured local firms

* EU, Japan brought similar case against Canada

By Tom Miles and Michael Martina

GENEVA/BEIJING, Nov 5 (Reuters) - China opened a second front in a solar power war with Europe on Monday, lodging a complaint with the World Trade Organization to challenge policies that Beijing argues favour firms in Italy and Greece.

Days after warning that it could put punitive tariffs on European Union exports of solar-grade polysilicon, a key raw material for solar power, China said Italy and Greece broke WTO rules.

The two EU states offered a higher electricity price to solar power producers that used mainly locally sourced components, it said.

While details of China's suit have yet to emerge, it appears to be the same complaint that the EU and Japan have brought against Canada - with the WTO expected to rule against Canada.

"The Chinese government has the right and the responsibility to fight for a fair international trade environment for China's solar industry," Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said in a statement.   Continued...