Despite Beijing requesting further dialogue on the matter, 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.

The provisional duties, which will be set at an average of 47 per cent, will be levied by June 6 in order to make Chinese solar exports less attractive, according to Reuters.
European Commission
The investigation into accusations of dumping is the biggest the commission has launched.

China’s Commerce Ministry on Thursday 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.

One possible solution is both parties agreeing a minimum price at which all solar panels makers selling in Europe adhere to, diplomats said.

Trade specialists from all 27 EU countries will be consulted on May 15 at a meeting in Brussels and are expected to back the decision, although their position is non-binding.

EU producers say Chinese companies have captured more than 80 percent of the European market from almost zero a few years ago. As a result, Chinese-made panels are as much as 45 per cent cheaper than those made in Europe, industry executives say.

The tariffs would deal a major blow to Chinese solar panel makers, especially smaller ones, if implemented, said Jason Cai, chief analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy Solarzoom.

Europe’s stance on solar energy is complicated by the fact that some in the EU solar sector, notably importers and installers, support cheap panel imports from China.

For more solar power generation news