China says highly concerned over EU probe

China says ‘highly concerned’ over EU probe into wind turbine suppliers

/ 05:33 PM April 10, 2024

BEIJING, China — Beijing said Wednesday it was “highly concerned” over a European Union probe into Chinese wind turbine suppliers, the latest move by Brussels targeting the country over green tech subsidies suspected of undermining fair competition.

The EU is seeking to massively ramp up renewable energy as it aims for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while moving away from excessive reliance on cheaper Chinese technology.

The bloc’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, announced the inquiry into Chinese wind turbine suppliers during a speech Tuesday in the United States.


She said the investigation would look into the development of wind parks in Spain, Greece, France, Romania and Bulgaria.


READ: EU probes Chinese wind turbine suppliers over subsidies

Beijing hit back on Wednesday, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Nig slamming EU “protectionism”, telling journalists it “protects backwardness… and causes multiple losses”.

“We urge the European side to abide by WTO rules and market principles, and China will firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises,” she said.

“China is highly concerned about the discriminatory measures taken by the European side against Chinese enterprises and even industries,” Mao added.

US concerns

The EU’s probe comes on the heels of recent criticism from the United States over China’s excess industrial capacity.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen this week rounded off a trip to the world’s second-largest economy, saying Washington “will not accept” underpriced Chinese goods flooding the global market.


READ: Yellen warns China industrial subsidies pose risk to world economy

The United States is concerned that Beijing subsidies are leading to more production capacity than global markets can absorb, resulting in a surge of cheap exports in sectors such as solar and electric vehicles and stifling the growth of those industries elsewhere.

Yellen on Monday said massive Chinese government support more than a decade ago had led to below-cost steel flooding the global market, which “decimated industries across the world and in the United States”.

“I’ve made clear that President Biden and I will not accept that reality again,” she told a news conference at the US ambassador’s residence, adding that America’s allies and partners shared similar concerns.

Multiple probes

The EU’s wind turbine probe follows earlier investigations targeting Chinese subsidies for solar panels, electric cars and trains, as trade tensions heat up with Beijing.

Brussels launched its newest probe under rules that came into force last year and seek to prevent foreign subsidies from undermining fair competition in the EU.

READ: China rebukes EU after formal launch of EV subsidy probe

Chinese wind turbines are currently being offered in Europe at prices up to 50 percent lower than European-made ones, according to the WindEurope industry lobby.

The EU opened its first probe under the Foreign Subsidies Regulation in February, targeting a subsidiary of Chinese rail giant CRRC. That investigation was closed after the subsidiary withdrew from a tender in Bulgaria to supply electric trains.

A second probe announced last week targets Chinese-owned solar panel manufacturers seeking to build and operate a photovoltaic park in Romania, partly financed by European funds.

Two separate consortiums are under investigation in that case, one of which includes a subsidiary of China’s Longi Green Energy Technology — the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturer.

The second is made up of two subsidiaries of China’s state-owned Shanghai Electric group.

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Under a different set of rules, Brussels last September started a probe into subsidies for Chinese electric cars.

TAGS: China, probe

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