The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) claiming European Union member states “illegally” subsidised PV manufacturers.

MOFCOM spokesman Shen Danyang said: “The Chinese government has the right and responsibility to fight for a fair international trade environment for domestic PV enterprises.”

Danyang said that EU subsidies, in particular those offered by Italy and Greece, “violate WTO rules on import subsidies”. “This constitutes a serious impact on Chinese PV exports and damages the legitimate rights and interests of China as a WTO member,” he said.

Danyang added: “Solar PV energy is conducive to resolving the challenges of energy security and climate change facing mankind. Countries should focus on the long term, to strengthen industrial cooperation, liberalise international trade, rather than encourage protectionist short term measures”.

MOFCOM has asked for consultations with the EU. Should no solution be reached within 60 days, China has the right to demand that the WTO pass a final ruling.