Germany: EU anti-dumping duties would be ‘grave’ mistake

Germany’s vice chancellor and economy minister Philipp Rösler has reportedly attacked the European Commission’s plans to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panels as a “grave” mistake.

Rösler told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that Gemany was concerned about punitive tariffs on Chinese solar products and that the commission needed needed to prevent a trade conflict by reaching a solution through dialogue instead of “threats”.

Meanwhile at a separate press conference last Friday, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Rösler had already put the federal government’s concerns forward at a meeting between member states last week. Steibert said the German government was looking for “an amicable” resolution to the dispute.

The details of the meeting held last week have yet to be confirmed.

Steibert said the European Commission plays a “vital role” in addressing the European crisis and for that the commission “has the support of the [German] federal government”.

Earlier this month it emerged that European Union trade commissioner Karel De Gucht was planning to offer support to imposing trade duties on solar imports from China. The final decision on duties will be decided by member states, but under EU rules De Gucht can press his case without their support.

Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang told journalists last week that any duties would “severely impair” bilateral trade ties between the two blocs and that China was open to dialogue to resolve this situation diplomatically.

China’s new premier is expected to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin next Sunday. Germany is the only EU member state he will visit on his first foreign tour.