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China Makers Prep Response to Solarworld’s Dumping Claim

China’s solar companies are preparing a response to an anti-dumping complaint from Solarworld AG as the German company moves closer to filing its case against their trade practices with the European Commission.

Representatives from about 40 domestic companies will outline their stance tomorrow, according to a statement on the website of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Solarworld, Germany’s biggest maker of solar panels, yesterday said it’s preparing the complaint, with a group of European solar companies readying an announcement for the end of the week.

“Together with several European solar companies, SolarWorld is working on a complaint against dumping prices of Chinese manufacturers,” Milan Nitzschke, a spokesman for Bonn-based Solarworld, said in an e-mail yesterday.

The complaint highlights growing tensions with China over its aid for renewable-energy companies. A similar filing in the U.S., led by Solarworld’s U.S. unit, resulted in preliminary anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar manufacturers after the U.S. Commerce Department in May ruled they sold products below cost. The U.S. duties range from 31 percent to 250 percent.

China will probably take countermeasures should the European Commission begin an investigation of Chinese solar manufacturers, the China Daily newspaper said.

The Commerce Ministry has yet to receive notice of an investigation, an unidentified ministerial official told the newspaper. A fax to the ministry’s news office requesting more information went unanswered.

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Germany’s environment minister, Peter Altmaier, said July 19 that the country would support the Commission if it were to start an anti-dumping procedure.

“An action of the EU on behalf of fair competition and the rules of the EU is urgently necessary,” Nitzschke said.

Solarworld will want to show an overwhelming majority of producers support the measure so that the European Commission finds reasons to hear the case, a team of Jefferies Group Inc. analysts said in a note to investors on June 28. The case may start 45 days after a complaint is filed, they said.

“Although the duties might be smaller and the likelihood of anti-dumping duties is somewhat lower than in the U.S., the size of the European PV market would make it hard for Chinese cell suppliers to circumvent any duties,” Jefferies said.

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