European solar panel makers have made a comprehensive trade complaint against Chinese rivals. It follows US regulatory authorities imposing tariffs last month but European firms hope their action will prevent the type of loopholes that have undermined the American move.

Led by Solar World and backed by 20 other European manufacturers, the European solar industry response is to organise itself into a coalition known as EU ProSun.

The complaint accuses Chinese manufacturers of selling their products below cost – a practice known as “dumping” – in order to take over more than 70 per cent of the EU market, and demands punitive tariffs, according to the FT.

EU ProSun is also considering an anti-subsidy allegation to the complaint, which details a number of illegal benefits that Beijing allegedly lavishes on Chinese solar companies, including access to cheap loans, electricity and raw materials.

The European action differs from the US complaint in that it specifies a range of Chinese solar products – including the wafers that are the building block of the photovoltaic cells, the cells themselves and the modules and finished panels that are comprised of multiple cells.

Under EU rules, the European Commission has 45 days to decide whether to launch a formal investigation. Chinese officials have already warned their EU that they will respond in kind to any punitive legislation aimed at Chinese solar manufacturers.

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