24.09.2012: The European Commission (EC) is evidently fearing a backlash from China, in response to the antidumping investigation against Chinese solar companies that it recently initiated. “Along with other WTO members, we have already expressed our general concern about China’s policy of retaliation in trade defense instruments,” says John Clancy, spokesman for the EU trade commissioner. Thus far, the EC has had no information about any official Chinese investigation into European exports; the concerns are based on various media reports. Last week, german.china.org.cn, an information portal run by the Chinese state, reported that Chinese officials resumed talks in Berlin, Germany, Paris, France, and Brussels, Belgium. According to Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, these talks already led to “positive results” in the case of photovoltaics (PV). If negotiations remain fruitless, however, this “could lead to a trade war between Europe and China, which will necessarily involve other economic sectors, such as the automotive and aerospace industries,” says Wang Shijiang, a manager of the China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance, based in Beijing. Moreover, Shijiang threatened that China could halt its exports of polysilicon into the EU. “This could be one way to pressure for successful negotiations,” he said. At the end of August, several Chinese companies asked the government to start antidumping investigations against European polysilicon imports, even before Sept. 6, when the EC launched its official investigation. “We believe that, like any other member of the WTO, China is entitled to open trade defense investigations, provided that the initiations meet certain legal requirements set out under WTO law. So if any investigation is initiated, the commission would closely examine whether the WTO requirements have been fulfilled,” says Clancy.