China’s Commerce Ministry announced on Wednesday that it will launch an investigation into whether unfair trade practices were adopted by the European Union in its probe of Chinese companies.

It said the investigation will focus on wind power, photovoltaics, security equipment and others and will be completed before January 10 next year, with a possible extension of three months to April.

The investigation was requested by China’s Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products.

The announcement is an apparent retaliation for recent probes by the EU of Chinese companies, launched earlier this year.

China EU Trade
China said its investigation will focus on wind turbines, solar panels, security equipment and others (Ng Han Guan/AP)

These include an inquiry into whether Chinese subsidies give wind turbine companies an unfair advantage in the competition for projects in five EU member countries – Spain, Greece, France, Romania and Bulgaria.

The EU also announced probes into two Chinese solar panel-makers bidding for a 455-megawatt solar park in Romania.

China has accused the European Union of protectionism and “reckless distortion” of the definition of subsidies in response to a new EU investigation into Chinese wind turbine-makers.

In June, the EU raised tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, escalating a trade dispute over Beijing’s subsidies for the exports that the EU fears is harming European car-makers.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said it would impose provisional tariffs that would result in Chinese vehicle-makers facing additional duties of as much as 38%, up from the current 10%.