In Focus
REGULATION | Staff Reporter, China

EU endorses negotiated settlement of solar panel spat with China

New import tariffs effective until 2015.

The European Commission has approved trade commissioner Karel De Gucht’s plan for limits on Chinese solar panels and allowed import tariffs to be removed on Aug 6.

The EU endorsed a negotiated settlement with China that 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 will be exempted EU duties meant to counter dumping.

De Gucht said this is going to stabilize the market and hopes that this deal is going to give the necessary oxygen to the European companies, and also companies from other countries, to invest again in research and development so that we can develop a new generation of solar panels.

The goal of the tariffs is to limit Chinese competition against European manufacturers without resorting to anti-dumping duties some EU national governments such as Germany oppose.

The renewable energy case covers EU imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules or panels, and cells and wafers used in them. Chinese companies control 80% of the EU solar panel market.

In early June, the EC introduced provisional anti-dumping duties as high as 67.9% on Chinese solar panels as part of a probe begun in September. The commission decided to apply an initial lower rate of 11.8% for two months to encourage China to negotiate a solution.

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