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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

06 Jun 2013 01:06:00

Duties imposed on Chinese solar panels

From today temporary anti-dumping duties will be levied on imported Chinese solar panels. The European Commission found that Chinese solar panels were being sold in the European market for as much as 88% below cost, a practice that is said to be harming the European trade market by damaging competition. The initial duty is an average of 11.8%, rising to an average of 47.6% after two months if no compromise with China is found.

Germany is one of the European Union members that warns this is a move that could create a trade war, with the Chinese government having already told the European Commission that it would "take necessary steps" to defend its national interests. The chief executive of one German solar company – IBC Solar – has said that such "guarding measures will endanger more than 70,000 jobs in medium-sized companies in Germany alone" and that the European Commission "must stop this dangerous protectionism", but if the EC cannot come to an agreement with China by December it's possible these duties will become permanent for five years.

The duties are in force in all 27 of the European Union's member states and there is a lot of trade at stake – €21bn in 2011, according to the European Commission. It is therefore imperative that negotiations can be made with China to find a compromise that not only helps the European market to flourish without damaging relations with China's solar panel industry but also helps to avoid needless conflicts between China and Europe, such as China's anti-dumping investigation into wine it imports from France.

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