China, EU willing to solve PV dispute through negotiation

China and the EU both hope to solve an ongoing trade dispute involving photovoltaic (PV) products through price undertaking talks, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Friday.

Gao made the remarks at a press conference following a session of the China-EU Trade and Economic Joint Committee held on the same day. Issues concerning bilateral trade and economic cooperation were discussed at the meeting, including the PV issue, according to Gao.

“Both sides are sincerely engaged in working towards an amicable solution,” EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said at the press conference.

Earlier this month, the EU imposed an interim anti-dumping duty of 11.8 percent on imports of all Chinese solar panel products, including panels, cells and wafers. The duty may be raised to an average of 47.6 percent two months after going into effect if both sides fail to come to an agreement.

Gao said China and the EU have been in close communication regarding issues related to the PV trade dispute. Technical-level discussions have been positive and constructive, he added.

Gao said he hopes both sides can adopt a pragmatic and flexible approach and strengthen coordination and collaboration in order to arrive at a balanced, reasonable and mutually acceptable price undertaking deal.

“It’s early in the negotiation process and this kind of issue is rarely solved overnight,” De Gucht warned.

Since the EU’s preliminary ruling, the Chinese government and PV enterprises have kept close contact with the European Commission regarding price undertaking talks.

China has urged the EU to keep overall China-EU cooperation in mind and take a pragmatic attitude.

Apart from trade remedies, the two sides also discussed a wide range of topics at the annual meeting, including a possible bilateral investment treaty (BIT), trade in goods, trade in service and intellectual property protection.

Gao said both sides have agreed to deepen information exchanges in order to open negotiations for the BIT as soon as possible.

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