China said it had started a probe Thursday into imported European solar products that allegedly received unfair subsidies and were sold below market rates, the latest volley in an intensifying trade row.
The investigation will examine whether firms from the European Union sold solar-grade polysilicon, a key material used in the making of solar cells, at artificially low prices in China, the commerce ministry said in a statement.
It will also investigate alleged subsidies the EU industry received and probe any damages caused to Chinese companies. The findings will help the ministry "come to a just ruling according to the law".
The row in the solar sector between China and the European Union escalated after Brussels in September launched an investigation into whether Chinese companies were selling panels in Europe at up to 80 percent below actual cost.
EU ProSun, which groups European makers and called for the anti-dumping probe, has also filed an official complaint with the European Commission over alleged illegal subsidies to Chinese firms.
Beijing reacted sharply to the EU investigation, warning that restricting Chinese solar battery products would harm both sides.
China has also urged the United States to rescind hefty anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Chinese solar-cell makers.
Beijing on July 20 launched its own investigation into alleged US subsidies for and dumping of solar-grade polysilicon, in apparent retaliation for US taxes slapped on Chinese products in May.