China may escape E.U. solar tariffs

Eurasia News

Brussels: China may escape tariffs of as much as 60% on its solar panels if a recent survey of European Commission member states provides any insight. The Dispatch News Desk (DND) reported.

A majority of the 27 governments in the E.U. oppose a plan to charge new import taxes on solar panel imports from China, undermining efforts by Germany’s solar panel industry to pressure Brussels to charge China with dumping cheaper solar products into the European market. The survey was released on Sunday. Germany’s Solar World was one of the main companies lobbying Commissioners against China.

With SolarWorld and trade group E.U. ProSun’s successful lobbying, the European Commission accused Chinese solar panel manufacturers of selling product below cost in Europe and plans to impose hefty import early duties next month. Media reports have put the date at June 6. But the European Commission still has to vote on the matter. And if the survey is right, then no tariff will be imposed.

The duties, averaging 47%, will come into force next month for a trial period and could be withdrawn if both sides can reach a negotiated settlement on new prices for Made in China solar. Chinese officials were holding talks with E.U. officials in Brussels yesterday and Premier Li Keqiang met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the weekend to discuss the matter. Merkel reportedly said that she was against “permanent” tariffs and would work over the next six months to resolve the issue.

China is the world’s leading producer of solar panels, overtaking Germany. Some of its most well known names are the now defunct SunTech Power, but also the alive and kicking JA Solar and Trina Solar.

The case is the largest trade case the commission has undertaken, with around 21 billion euros ($27 billion) of Chinese-made solar panels on the hook.