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Green economy should not be used as political card: economist

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-09-08 16:36

BERLIN -- The development of green economy should not be used as a political card, while mutual understanding and trust is the best way to fight protectionism, prominent Chinese economist Cheng Siwei said Friday, commenting on an EU anti-dumping probe towards solar imports from China.

"There is no denying that there is both cooperation and competition in developing green economy, but both sides should try to understand and trust each other," said Cheng, who is former Vice Chairman of China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

"We oppose all kinds of protectionism and there will be no winner in a trade war as the world economy is interconnected," Cheng told Xinhua on the sidelines of a panel discussion on China's green economy in Berlin.

The European Commission said on Thursday that it will probe the possible dumping of solar panels by Chinese producers, claiming the products were being exported for less than costs and squeezing counterparts out of business. It is the biggest such complaint filed by the EU in terms of import value.

"I hope we can settle the issue through friendly negotiation and consultation," Cheng said, adding that protectionism easily arises during periods of economic difficulties.

Even with governmental support for the development of solar energy, Chinese solar energy industry is facing a hard time as prices are falling sharply, which caused almost all producers to lose money this year, Cheng said.

But it is a good opportunity for Chinese solar energy enterprises to achieve technological innovation and cost reduction, he said, suggesting that Chinese companies cooperate with their European counterparts in these fields.

"Competition plus cooperation is the best way to solve the problem," Cheng said.

On China's development of green economy, Cheng said the government has been advocating that the whole society work for this nation's low-carbon economy by means of less energy consumption, less pollution and less emissions. But he added that there is still a long way to go.

He cited his research results as saying that pollution cost 34.5 percent of China's gross domestic product in 2005.

China needs to improve fossil energy efficiency and also develop new energy, Cheng said, urging industries to adopt sustainable practices and address carbon emissions to avoid leaving "environmental debts to our children and grandchildren."

He also noted China's heavy reliance on fossil energy, saying that even with China's ambitious clean energy plan, the proportion of fossil fuel in total energy mix will still be 85 percent in 2020.

But China's pursuit of green economy is unwavering, Cheng said, noting the emphasis on developing green economy in the 12th five-year-plan. The government has set up rigorous discipline for local governments and state-owned enterprises on carbon emission, he said.

"We are suggesting imposing carbon tax on thermal power plants and using the revenue to subsidize solar and wind energy development," Cheng said.

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