|Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (R) meets with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at Zhongnanhai, the central government compound in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 11, 2012. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
China and the European Union (EU) should resolve their trade disputes through talks and cooperation, according to Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang.
During his meeting on Thursday with the visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Li said, "I hope Germany will actively work to facilitate the EU to handle its trade disputes with China through consultation and cooperation."
Li told Westerwelle: "Trade protectionism is sure to fail in the end with no way out."
In July, Germany's SolarWorld and other European solar panel makers filed a complaint seeking import tariffs on Chinese-made solar products. They claimed that their Chinese competitors received low-interest loans from the government.
The European Commission decided to begin a formal investigation on Sept. 6. It is the largest dispute involving China in terms of trade volume.
China's solar product exports were valued at 35.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2011. The EU receives a share of more than 60 percent, or 20.4 billion dollars.
Li stressed that the development of China's solar product industry helps address global climate change and maintains international sustainable development. He added that his country's exports of solar products to the EU help promote the region's green growth and benefit both sides.
China is a very important trade partner both with Germany and the EU, Li noted, calling on the two sides to work against trade protectionism.
Li also reiterated China's support for the EU to combat the sovereign debt crisis, expressing the hope that the recently-launched European Stability Mechanism (ESM), largely funded by Germany, would play a bigger role of facilitation and coordination.
Westerwelle, visiting China from Thursday to Saturday at the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, expressed Germany's commitment to working with China at a higher level.
He thanked China for supporting the EU on the sovereign debt issue, and voiced Germany's stern opposition to trade protectionism.