China has been accused of trying to dump cheap solar panels on the EU market

Call to extend EU export duty on Chinese solar panels

European solar panel manufacturers are urging the EU to extend restrictions on imports of Chinese solar power products.

In an effort to prevent Chinese manufacturers flooding the EU market with artificially cheap solar panels supported by government subsidies, in 2013 the European Commission put restrictions on the number of solar panels, wafers and cells Chinese firms could sell and also set a minimum price.

Imports from Chinese producers not part of this undertaking are subject to duties of up to 64.9 per cent, but both the duties and duty-free arrangement are due to expire in mid-December.

The scheme was put in place following a complaint from EU ProSun, an association of EU producers, which said it had filed an application last Thursday to extend it. While the association did not welcome the EU settlement with China, it still wants it to be renewed to prevent Chinese rivals from being able to sell into the EU free of tariffs.

The settlement resolved a long-standing trade war between Brussels and Beijing, but extending the deal could revive tensions as China says the EU is unfairly targeting a sector whose exports to the EU rose to €21bn in 2011.

The Commission is already investigating a complaint that Chinese solar companies are trying to evade import tariffs by shipping their products via Taiwan and Malaysia, and it has proposed denying six Chinese producers from the duty-free undertaking because of alleged violations of its conditions.

If the Commission agrees to start a so-called expiry review, the undertaking and anti-dumping duties would extend for at least a year while the it assessed.

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