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Multilateral negotiations key to resolving China solar trade dispute, says SEIA

Following agreeing to Shanghai declaration, Solar Energy Industries Association says it is time for the EU, US and China to work together to resolve “costly and disruptive” dispute which could affect entire solar supply chain

The SEIA says China, the US and EU should engage in multilateral trade negotiations to end the anti-dumping solar trade dispute

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has said multilateral trade negotiations between the EU, US and China are important to end the dispute with the BRIC country over anti-dumping and anti-subsidy allegations involving Chinese solar panels. Following a meeting in China last week, the US solar association said it time for the west and BRIC nations to work together before the dispute affects the global solar supply chain.

The SEIA met in China with organisations including the Asia PV Industry Association and agreed to a joint policy position, the Shanghai Solar Declaration. The declaration strongly encourages China, the United States, the European Union and other nations to engage in multilateral trade negotiations aimed at ending the dispute. The SEIA hopes this will lead to the creation of a "collaborative framework" for preventing trade conflicts in the future.

Reacting to published reports that the US and the EU are trying to settle the lingering trade dispute with China, John Smirnow, vice president of trade and competitiveness for the SEIA said it is time for nations to work together to resolve the "costly and disruptive dispute. He said not doing so could affect the "entire" solar supply chain and cause a "ripple effect" throughout the economies of the US, Asia and Europe.

Smirnow said: "The Shanghai Solar Declaration strongly encourages the United States, China, the European Union and other nations to engage in multilateral trade negotiations aimed at ending this costly and disruptive dispute.

"After expressing our intentions to the White House, we are very encouraged that these long-needed negotiations appear ready to proceed. Simply put, it's time for everyone to work together toward a fair resolution of these cases.

"There is clear evidence that disputes within one segment of the industry affect the entire solar supply chain," he said. "What's more, they cause a ripple effect throughout the economies of the US, Asia and Europe. In addition to resolving current disagreements, we hope this process will also lead to the creation of a pro-competitive, collaborative framework for preventing future trade conflicts and ensuring the adoption of balanced and equitable agreements in the future."

To date, other signatories to the Shanghai Solar Declaration include: the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE); Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI); and the Solar Energy Association of Sweden.

The importance of the EU, US and China working together to develop the PV industry worldwide was highlighted when solar event organisers joined together to set up the Global Solar Alliance (GSA). The alliance was set up in May 2012.