The European Union will phase in import duties on Chinese solar panels, the European Commission said on Tuesday 4 June.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told media that duties would initially be set at 11.8 per cent from Thursday this week, rising to an average 47.6 per cent on 6 August 2013 if no settlement was reached by then.
In a statement published on the European Commission’s website, De Gucht said the decision was made unanimously and is designed to protect European market from the effects of dumping of Chinese products.
The decision followed a detailed nine-month legal investigation and was reached after thorough consultations with other stakeholders.
The tariffs come into effect on 6 July and will stay in place until the investigation ends at the beginning of December this year At this time the decision will have to be made whether the EU will impose permanent duties for up to five years.
In the first step, as of 6 June, a tariff of 11.8 per cent will be imposed on all Chinese solar panel imports. Two months later, as of 6 August, the average tariff will be 47.6 per cent. Overall, the duties will range from 37.2 per cent to 67.9 per cent at that stage. Those Chinese companies which have co-operated will face lower tariffs whereas the uncooperative ones will face higher duties.
De Gucht believes that the provision will allow European markets to adapt and will offer the Chinese side a clear incentive to negotiate. If China does not provide a solution by August, higher tariffs will apply.
De Gucht said today’s action was an emergency measure to provide life-saving oxygen to those European businesses who are suffering from Chinese dumping. He further reassured that the response was balanced, legal and justified within international trade rules.
“Chinese companies are dumping their under-priced solar panels on Europe. Our estimate of the fair sale price of a Chinese solar panel would actually be 88 per cent higher than the current price for which they are sold on the European market,” de Gucht said.
He further reminded that the USA is currently adopting similar duties on Chinese exports.