China files EU solar subsidy complaint with WTO

Workers inspecting solar panels at a factory in China The EU is one of the biggest markets for China's solar panel exports

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China has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against subsidies provided by some European governments to solar panel makers.

This is the latest in a long line of trade disputes pitting China against Europe and the US.

In September, the EU launched a probe into alleged "dumping" of solar panels by Chinese manufacturers.

Last month, the US said it would increase tariffs on solar cells imported from China.

The Commerce Department said the rise was specifically designed to offset the subsidies China pays its own solar manufacturers.

Growing exports

In the latest move in the dispute, China's Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Shen Danyang, said EU subsidies constituted a "violation of WTO prohibitions on import replacement subsidies, seriously affect Chinese exports, and harm China's rightful interests as a WTO member.

"The Chinese government has the right and the responsibility to fight for a fair international trade environment for China's solar industry."

The move by China comes after European manufacturers alleged Chinese firms were selling panels below their market value, thanks to subsidies from Beijing.

The EU is one of the biggest markets for China's solar panel exports.

China exported nearly 21bn euros' ($27bn; £17bn) worth of solar panels and components to the region last year. Exports are likely to grow further amid a push by the EU for increased use of renewable energy.

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