The U.S. is reportedly taking part in preliminary discussions with China and the European Union regarding the escalating trade dispute over Chinese solar panels.
Bloomberg reports that sources familiar with the talks say the Obama administration is engaging both camps in an attempt to head off an all-out trade war. The discussions, said to be in their preliminary stages, come as the European Commission reportedly plans to impose severe tariffs on Chinese solar imports at the beginning of June.
According to the Bloomberg report, negotiations may include the suspension of U.S. tariffs on Chinese solar products, which the U.S. Department of Commerce finalized in November 2012.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), in cooperation with the Asia PV Industry Association and other trade groups, issued the Shanghai Solar Declaration on May 13 urging all parties to engage in multilateral trade negotiations to end the dispute.
John Smirnow, SEIA's vice president of trade and competitiveness, seems optimistic that cooler heads will prevail.
"After expressing our intentions to the White House, we are very encouraged that these long-needed negotiations appear ready to proceed," Smirnow said in a statement." 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 continued." What's more, they cause a ripple effect throughout the economies of the United States, 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."