BELGIUM: EU Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, received Chinese vice-minister of Commerce Zhong Shan in Brussels on 27 May 2013. The following statement has been made by EU Trade Spokesman John Clancy after the meeting:
"During today’s informal meeting between EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan, Commissioner De Gucht expressed clearly that he was ready to negotiate a solution on the solar panels case. However, the Chinese side did not put any specific proposal forward today which is quite normal as we are not yet at the formal stage for negotiations which would only start - if and when - a decision is taken on provisional tariffs by the legal deadline of the 5th June."
Commissioner De Gucht also expressed to the Chinese vice-minister his intention to examine the possibility of a negotiated settlement in partnership with the United States should this become necessary.
In addition, De Gucht also made it very clear to the vice-minister that he was aware of the pressure being exerted by China on a number of EU member states which explains why they are positioning themselves as they are in their advisory positions towards the European Commission.
This is why it is so important in trade defence cases that it is the European Commission which has the role of deciding on provisional tariffs since the European Commission can maintain an independent position. It is the role of the European Commission to remain independent, to resist any external pressure and to see the 'big picture' for the benefit of Europe, its companies and workers based upon the evidence alone.
It's also important to underline the European Commission does not launch anti-dumping investigations on a whim but on the basis of hard facts when there is clear harm to Europe's companies and workers from the illegal flooding of its market by under-priced products. Our trade defence actions are about getting 'trade justice' for our companies and workers. But, of course, if the injury can be removed on the basis of a Chinese undertaking instead, the Commission will look at any proposal to be made after the imposition of provisional measures, if any. In this respect, the ball is very much in China's court.
The final decision on possible provisional measures in this case must be taken by 5th June according to the legal process. The full investigation continues and will conclude in early December 2013.”