EU Decides Against Anti-Subsidy Duties on Chinese Solar Panels

August 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The European Union decided against
imposing preliminary anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese solar
panels, opting to wait another four months to assess whether the
levies are warranted in the biggest EU trade fight of its kind.

The European Commission waived the right to impose
provisional EU duties to counter alleged trade-distorting
government aid to Chinese solar-panel manufacturers. The
commission, the 28-nation EU’s regulatory arm, will study
whether “definitive” anti-subsidy levies should be applied by
Dec. 8.

The commission approved Aug. 2 an agreement with China to
curb EU imports of solar panels as part of a parallel probe into
below-cost sales, a practice known as dumping. The accord, which
took effect Aug. 6, sets a minimum price and a volume limit on
EU imports of Chinese solar panels until the end of 2015.
Chinese manufacturers that take part are being spared
provisional EU anti-dumping duties as high as 67.9 percent.

“The provisional anti-dumping measures and the price
undertaking on the same products already remove the injury
suffered by the union industry,” John Clancy, the commission’s
trade spokesman, said in a statement yesterday in Brussels.
“The decision not to impose any provisional anti-subsidy
measures does, however, not prejudge the final outcome of the
anti-subsidy investigation. The commission will continue working
actively on the case.”

Subsidy Cases

The commission is engaged in a political balancing act as
it seeks to limit Chinese competition against European
manufacturers such as Solarworld AG. (SWV) The renewable-energy
dumping and subsidy cases cover EU imports of crystalline
silicon photovoltaic modules or panels, and cells and wafers
used in them — shipments valued at 21 billion euros ($28
billion) in 2011.

With Chinese companies such as Yingli Energy (China) Co.
and Wuxi Suntech Power Co. controlling 80 percent of the EU
solar-panel market and China’s government opposed to any trade
protection in Europe, some European governments including those
in Berlin and London have expressed opposition to anti-dumping
duties to boost import prices. That led in June to commission
negotiations with China on a settlement of the dumping case.

EU governments, acting on a commission proposal, have until
Dec. 6 to decide whether to accept the anti-dumping agreement as
a definitive measure. The end-2015 timeframe of the anti-dumping
accord is less than the usual five-year period for definitive EU
trade protection. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said on
Aug. 2 that the pace of change in the solar-panel market
justifies the shorter period of protection.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
James Hertling at

Greentech Says EU-China Solar Pact `Terrible' Idea

Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) — Sigieri Diaz Pallavicini, chief executive officer of Greentech Energy Systems A/S, discusses the company’s growth outlook and the European Union’s agreement to set a minimum price and volume limit on imports of Chinese solar panels.
He speaks from Rome with Guy Johnson on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse.” (Source: Bloomberg)

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