May 21 (Reuters)- NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - Europe and the
United States both said on Tuesday they were not holding
coordinated talks to negotiate an end to a trade dispute with
China over the dumping of solar panels onto their respective
The European Union has until June 5 to decide whether to
impose duties averaging 47 percent on Chinese manufactured solar
panels. The United States has already imposed duties of about 30
percent on Chinese manufacturers.
"We do not have a common battle plan. We have not discussed
it," the EU's trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht, told a meeting
in New York sponsored by the European American Chamber of
Commerce and the State University of New York. "We have not
teamed up. We have not done so."
Both De Gucht and the U.S. Trade Representatives office were
responding to a New York Times report that said the United
States and the European Union have each decided to negotiate
settlements with China to resolve anti-dumping and
countervailing duty cases against Chinese solar products.
News of the report initially sent Chinese solar stocks
sharply higher, though some later pared gains.
The U.S. Trade Representative's office said in an emailed
statement that there were no "active" negotiations under way
with the EU and China on solar panels, though the statement did
not rule out the idea.
"Our goal is to support a healthy global solar industry in
conditions that foster the adoption of renewable energy and
continued innovation and a level playing field for all," USTR
spokeswoman Carol Guthrie said in the statement.
"Toward those ends, we will continue to work with industry
and our trading partners to explore ways to resolve concerns.
Active negotiations have not yet begun," she said.
In a similar vein, De Gucht, in response to a question from
Reuters, said, "We have a similar problem, but there are no
templates for finding equitable solutions. We have not had
consultations yet between us on this matter."
The European Commission agreed earlier this month to impose
punitive import duties on solar panels from China. However, the
formal declaration of duties only comes if it is published in
the EU's Official Journal on June 6.
Shares of JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd were up 4
percent in afternoon trade, while LDK Solar Co Ltd rose
10.9 percent. China Sunergy Co Ltd eased off earlier
highs to trade up 0.8 percent, while Trina Solar Ltd was
up 9.6 percent and U.S.-based First Solar Inc gained
1.2 2 percent.
Europe's argument with China over solar panels is but one of
18 ongoing trade investigations with Beijing.
Most recently, De Gucht warned that the EU was ready to
launch a dispute over telecom networking equipment makers. On
Friday he specifically named China's Huawei and ZTE
Corp for violating anti-dumping and anti-subsidy
guidelines in an interview with Reuters.
De Gucht, who spoke before the Council on Foreign Relations
in New York on Tuesday, was asked if China should be uneasy
given that its two biggest trading partners are about to start
"There is no reason that they should be nervous," he said,
adding, "I believe this agreement (with the US) will contribute
to a global level playing field. This should also be the aim of
The EU and United States account for nearly half the world's
economic output and 30 percent of trade, with goods and services
worth $2.7 billion traded bilaterally every day. Those figures
were released in February when the two sides announced they
would launch bilateral trade talks.
The EU is China's most important trading partner, while for
the EU, China is second only to the United States. Chinese
exports of goods to the 27-member bloc totaled 290 billion euros
($374 billion) last year, with 144 billion euros going the other
"They have now become an important economy and they have to
take up global responsibility ... for a global playing field,"
said De Gucht.
"There is no ambition whatsoever and we will do everything
to avoid that China would feel cornered, but on the other hand
we ask them to take up more responsibility for the global