WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) – The United States, China and
the European Union have had initial discussions on a possible
“global” agreement to resolve solar energy disputes, a senior
U.S. official said on Thursday.
“There have been some initial discussions with both the
European market and China about how to deal with this on a
global basis,” White House international economic affairs
adviser Mike Froman said at a Senate hearing on his nomination
to be U.S. trade representative.
The United States last year slapped duties on billions of
dollars of solar energy products from China that it said were
unfairly priced and subsidized.
The European Union has recently imposed similar duties on
the Chinese goods, but has held talks with China on a possible
China responded to the U.S. duties by threatening duties on
U.S. exports of polysilicon, which is used to make solar cells,
and is also threatening duties on European wines.
Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, pressed Froman on the
need for a deal covering all three trading partners.
“As you and I have talked about, our country can’t resolve
this on its own. We’ve got to have really a global settlement.
We’ve got to have an opportunity for governments to discuss this
– ours, China and Europe,” Wyden said.
He accused the Chinese of circumventing U.S. duties and
urged Froman to move aggressively to strike a deal if confirmed
“This is a hugely important issue. We’ve got to be able to
be producers in renewable energy,” Wyden said.
Froman said he supported a global agreement because the
current disputes threaten to harm polysilicon manufacturers,
solar panel manufacturers and solar panel installers.
“I look forward to working with you in determining how to do
that in the best way possible,” Froman told Wyden.
(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Vicki Allen and Dan
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