German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gesticulate after a contract signing ceremony at the chancellery in Berlin, Sunday, May 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s chancellor says she will use her country’s economic clout to hinder the European Union from imposing punitive tariffs on some Chinese products to avoid a trade war.
Angela Merkel told visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday that she will lobby for “intense talks” between the EU and China to seek a negotiated solution as swiftly as possible.
The European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm, is proposing anti-dumping duties for Chinese solar panel imports. If agreed, China could retaliate by imposing tariffs on other goods.
Li sharply criticized the EU’s approach, saying through an interpreter “it sends a wrong signal because we want to fight protectionism together.”
He says China hopes talks between Beijing and Brussels can still avoid a trade standoff and yield “an amicable solution.”