Chinese irritation grows as EU launches new competition probe

The EU started a new inquiry into the development of certain wind parks in Bulgaria, France, Greece, Romania and Spain.

China snapped back at the European Union over new investigation on wind turbine makers, calling it a “reckless distortion” and a protectionist measure in a statement released after a meeting in Brussels with the EU director general for trade defence.

The EU opened an investigation last Tuesday on wind turbines makers, with the aim of checking whether China is giving subsidies to companies that create an unfair advantage. The companies under investigation are billing for projects in five EU member states: Spain, France, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria.

The investigation is just the latest in a series against Chinese companies. Last week the EU launched an investigation on two Chinese solar panel makers that are bidding for a solar park in Romania and in October it launched another one on electric vehicles. A third one on electric trains procurement in Bulgaria was dropped last month after the Chinese company involved decided to withdraw from the competition.

Chinese officials and Chinese business groups are biting back at what they perceived as unfair speculations.

The China Chamber of Commerce to the EU released a statement against the latest probe saying that “this action sends a detrimental signal to the world, suggesting discrimination against Chinese enterprises and endorsing protectionism,” while another Chinese business group in Europe described it as “an act of economic coercion.”

After meeting with the EU director general for trade defence Martin Lukas, China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement that the investigations are undermining Chinese trust in trade relationship with the EU and also undermines joint efforts to fight climate change.

When talking about the new probe at a speech in the United States on technology and politics, EU commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager simply stated that the bloc is working with the instruments it has. However, Vestager called for an overhaul of current EU approach for a more comprehensive way rather than the current “whack-a-mole” system. She wrote in some prepared remarks that “we can’t afford to see what happened on solar panels, happening again on electric vehicles, wind or essential chips.”

“Today we start a new inquiry into the development of certain wind parks in 🇪🇸, 🇬🇷, 🇫🇷 , 🇷🇴 & 🇧🇬. We are concerned that certain wind manufacturers may benefit from unfair foreign subsidies. Fair 🇪🇺💨 energy market is key for our #competitiveness,” she posted on X.

Her sentiments have been echoed also in Germany, where the German Chamber of Commerce in East China wants German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to raise the issue of German companies entering the Chinese market during his planned visit in the country next week. The Chamber released a survey among its members that showed how the general consensus is that “against the background of increased entry of Chinese providers into the European market, a level playing field must be implemented.”

Explore more