Premier Li Keqiang (L) speaks while German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on during a press conference after their talks in Berlin, capital of Germany, May 26, 2013.[Photo by Ju Peng/Xinhua]
BERLIN -- Visiting Premier Li Keqiang on May 26 slammed the European Union (EU) for pursuing anti-dumping cases against Chinese solar panels and mobile telecommunication equipment.
At a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Li said China firmly opposes the EU’s plans to probe Chinese-made wireless telecom devices and impose punitive duties on Chinese-made solar panels.
“The moves send to the world a signal of trade protectionism,” Li said. “They would not only hurt Chinese business and jobs, but also damage the interests of European industries, business and consumers.”
“They harm others without benefiting themselves,” Li said.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, backed a proposal this month to impose punitive tariffs averaging 47 percent on Chinese imports of solar panels to prevent alleged “dumping” in the European market. Also this month, it proposed opening anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into mobile telecom equipment imported from China.
Li said China hopes to jointly uphold the principle of opposing trade protectionism with the EU, work with Brussels to find a solution to trade disputes through dialogue and consultation, and send to the world a signal of not abusing trade remedies and not creating a “lose-lose” situation.
Germany, the premier noted, is the only EU country included in his ongoing four-nation tour, showing that China-Germany relations are of great importance.
The sound and stable development of China-Germany ties carries enormous significance not only for themselves, but also for China-Europe ties and the world at large, Li said.
He said his visit is aimed at pushing the bilateral relations onto a fast development track so as to inject fresh impetus into the two-way comprehensive cooperation.
Li said his talks with Merkel are very fruitful, and the two sides have charted course for future bilateral cooperation and reached an important consensus on deepening the strategic partnership between the two nations.
The premier said the two sides agreed to keep strategic communication by maintaining the current mechanism of annual leaders’ meetings and enhance consultations and communication at all levels.
Meanwhile, the two leaders also vowed to advance bilateral cooperation in such fields as economy and trade, agriculture, urbanization and people-to-people exchanges, Li added.
Strengthened ties between Beijing and Berlin would also help bolster China-Europe relations, he said.
China, the premier said, always views its relations with Europe from a strategic, long-term and overall perspective, supports European integration, and backs Europe’s efforts to address its debt problems.
A untied, stable and prosperous Europe serves China’s interests and also helps promote the construction of a multi-polar world, he added.
Li said it is quite common that China and Germany, two countries with different histories, cultures, national conditions, differ on some issues.
However, their converging interests have far overwhelmed their differences, and therefore they could expand consensus through candid communication and make friendship and cooperation the mainstream of bilateral ties, he said.
For her part, Merkel said the inclusion of Germany in Li’s first overseas trip as Chinese premier fully evinces that Beijing highly values its ties with Berlin, which are keeping a good development momentum with deepened pragmatic cooperation in various areas and increasingly closer people-to-people and local-level exchanges.
She said her country is ready to join efforts with the Chinese side to exert the leading role of the inter-governmental consultations and other bilateral mechanisms to guide the two-way cooperation, in a bid for the Germany-China relationship to achieve fresh progress in the new era.
Merkel said Germany maintains that the EU-China disputes over solar panels and other issues should be solved via dialogue and negotiation, and that the EU’s permanent import duties imposed on related products would be unhelpful and should be avoided with relevant measures.
She also called for related parties to conduct in-depth exchange of views with the principle of seeking common ground while reserving differences so as to dissolve misunderstandings and quickly solve the disputes.
At the press conference, Li also had a Q&A session with reporters on China-Germany ties, China-Europe relations as well as global and regional hotspot issues.