EU trade action will hit climate change fight

The European Union’s latest trade protectionist action against Chinese wind turbine companies will severely affect global efforts to address climate change and weaken mutual trust between China and the EU, China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

The European Commission said earlier this week that it will launch a probe into Chinese wind turbine suppliers under its new Foreign Subsidies Regulation. The investigation will examine the development of wind parks in Spain, Greece, France, Romania and Bulgaria.

Speaking at a weekly news conference in Beijing, He Yadong, spokesman for the ministry, said the move clearly violates the principles of free trade, and seriously disrupts normal cooperation between Chinese and European industries. It is typical of protectionism, He said.

The Commerce Ministry official said that China is dissatisfied and opposed to this action. The country will take necessary measures to defend the legitimate rights and interests of its companies.

He stressed that Chinese companies in the new energy industry have achieved rapid development and gained competitive advantages through continuous technological innovation, well-developed industrial chains and market competition. They are in a leading position globally, which cannot be achieved by any subsidies.

The EU cannot claim to be a leader in combating climate change and promoting green cooperation while simultaneously engaging in trade protectionism, imposing arbitrary restrictions on standard international green trade and investment, and employing double standards in its efforts to address climate change, he added.

These actions may turn the EU into an obstructer of global green transformation, a disrupter of investment cooperation with China, and a destroyer of mutual economic and trade trust between the two sides, the Commerce Ministry added.

The EU’s shift toward a green economy depends significantly on China. This shift requires the adoption of cost-effective measures and the widespread use of green technology, areas where China’s robust industrial chain offers a distinct advantage that the EU cannot easily duplicate, said Ding Rijia, a professor specializing in green economy at the China University of Mining and Technology in Beijing.

Separately, the Ministry of Commerce said in an online statement on Thursday that the EU’s assessment of China’s market economy, based on arbitrarily-defined “serious distortion” criteria, significantly misrepresents the reality and will adversely affect bilateral economic and trade relations.

The European Commission on Wednesday released a revised report highlighting significant “state-induced distortions” in the Chinese economy.

During a meeting with Martin Lukas, director of the trade defense department of the European Commission, in Brussels on Wednesday, the head of Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce said the report misrepresents China’s policies, market environment and economic system. It has created excuses for taking further discriminatory anti-dumping measures.

“China expresses strong concern and opposition to this move,” said the Chinese official, adding that the World Trade Organization’s rules do not encompass any standards for this type of “distortion”.

The EU’s unilateral implementation of the so-called “serious distortion” standard to assess China’s market economy is completely unfounded and is likely to introduce negativity and uncertainty into bilateral economic and trade relations, the official added.

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