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China's commerce minister chides 'protectionist' Europe

By AFP

April 12, 2024 05:26 PM


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China's commerce minister on Friday accused the European Commission of pursuing "protectionist" actions at the expense of green initiatives by launching investigations into Chinese subsidies.

"We can't understand how the European Commission on the one hand carries the flag for green sustainable development and on the other hand undertakes protectionist operations," Wang Wentao said at an Italy-China economic forum in Verona.

Brussels this week opened an inquiry into Chinese wind turbine suppliers, looking into the development of wind parks in Spain, Greece, France, Romania, and Bulgaria.

The European Union and the United States have accused China of flooding the global market with low-cost products from various industries which hurt domestic growth.

The Chinese minister said he found it "perplexing" that the EU commission on sectors like electric cars, solar panels, or wind turbines had "taken some actions that are going to block them".

The commission "creates subsidies for European companies while on the other hand opens investigations into subsidies given by China", Wang said, according to an Italian interpreter at the meeting.

"This clearly can undermine Chinese companies' confidence in cooperation."

A spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry on Wednesday slammed EU "protectionism" that "protects backwardness".

"China is highly concerned about the discriminatory measures taken by the European side against Chinese enterprises and even industries," she said in Beijing.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Thursday his government wanted to strengthen trade ties with China despite Rome's withdrawal in December from Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative.

Italy joined the huge maritime and land infrastructure project in 2019, becoming the only G7 country to participate, but Tajani said membership had not delivered the hoped-for economic benefits.


AFP


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