EU ends restrictions on Chinese solar panels imports

EU ends restrictions on Chinese solar panels imports

The European Union will end restrictions on the sale of solar panels from China early next week.

A move EU producers said would lead to a flood of dumped products.

The European Commission, which coordinates EU trade policy, in a statement on Friday said that the measures would expire at midnight on Monday, September 3, confirming a Reuters report on Aug. 24.

The EU first imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures for Chinese solar panels, wafers and cells in 2013 and extended them by 18 months in March 2017, signalling that they should then end.

Chinese manufacturers have been allowed to sell solar products in Europe free of duties if they do so at or above a progressively declining minimum price. If sold for less than that price, they are subject to duties of up to 64.9 percent.

The Commission said it was in the best interests of the EU as a whole for the measures to lapse, bearing in mind the bloc’s aim of increasing its supply of renewable energy. The measures had also decreased over time, allowing import prices to align with world market prices, it said.

The European Union has faced a delicate balancing act between the interests of EU manufacturers and those such as importers and installers pressing for a reduction in the cost of solar power generation.

It has also been concerned about the response from Beijing given the two sides were on the verge of a trade war over the issue in 2013.

EU ProSun, the grouping of EU producers that launched the initial complaint in 2012 and wanted a further extension of measures, had said that European manufacturers would be devastated if the measures ended.

Beijing’s decision to limit installations in China meant producers there had some 30 gigawatts of excess capacity to shift with few markets to sell into after tariffs imposed by the United States and planned by India, the second and third largest markets behind China. The total EU market is some 7 gigawatts.

Some companies were considering a legal challenge at the European Court of Justice. EU ProSun said.