EU Imposes Large Duty on Solar Panels from China
The European Commission agreed to impose punitive import duties on solar panels from China in a move to guard against what it sees as dumping of cheap goods in Europe, prompting a cautious response from Beijing which called for further dialogue.
EU commissioners backed EU Trade Chief Karel De Gucht's proposal to levy the provisional duties by 6 June and make Chinese solar exports less attractive, two officials said.
Shares in German manufacturers SolarWorld, Phoenix Solar and Centrotherm rose sharply, while China's Suntech fell heavily.
The investigation into accusations of dumping is the biggest the Commission has launched, but Brussels is trying to tread a careful path, knowing it needs China, the EU's second largest trading partner, to help the bloc pull out from recession.
China's ambassador to the World Trade Organization, Yi Xiaozhun, called the decision a mistake although he declined to comment on any possible retaliation.
"It will send the wrong message to the world that protectionism is coming," Yi told Reuters in Geneva on 8 May.
China's Commerce Ministry on 9 May called for dialogue. "We don't want to see a trade war between the two sides and we hope the EU can cautiously make the ruling decision on China's solar panel products," spokesman Yao Jian told reporters.
Given that Germany and France are seeking to increase exports to China, De Gucht will try for a negotiated solution with new Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng before an EU deadline in December to cement the levies for up to five years.
That could mean agreeing a minimum price at which all solar panels makers selling in Europe adhere to, diplomats said.
Solar panels on house via Shutterstock.
Read more at EurActiv.