The European Commission has introduced provisional anti-dumping duties on all imports of solar panels from China
The temporary tariffs have been introduced on solar panels after the European market was flooded by Chinese imports.
Chinese imports make up 80 per cent of the European solar panel market. In 2012, China’s excess capacity was almost double total EU demand.
EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said: ‘This decision follows a thorough and serious investigation and extended contacts with market players. As the market for and imports of solar panels in the EU is very large, it is important for this duty not to disrupt it.
‘Therefore, a phased approach will be followed with the duty set at 11.8 per cent until 6 August 2013.
‘From August on the duty will be set at the level of 47.6 per cent which is the level required to remove the harm caused by the dumping to the European industry’.
The decision comes after an investigation launched in September 2012, which found Chinese companies were selling solar panels to Europe at far below their market value, causing significant harm to EU solar panel producers.
In a statement the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) added: ‘This decision to impose provisional duties intervenes in a context of shifting market dynamics and production overcapacity, which led to an intense global competition. The fast price decrease observed over the last two years has resulted in negative margins over almost the entire value chain of the solar PV industry and put many of its players in severe financial difficulties.
‘Today’s PV industry is on the way to becoming a self-standing and global industrial sector, ever less dependent on subsidies. At the same time, it is a sector considered by several countries as a strategic development initiative. EPIA therefore encourages all governmental and industry players to ensure fair competition respecting WTO rules and to engage at an early stage in discussions so as to avoid trade conflicts in the future and collaborate on a global scale.
‘EPIA remains confident that, no matter what the final outcome is of this case, the mid- to long-term prospects for solar PV in Europe and around the world remain solid and will play a key role in the needed economic recovery’.
These duties will be in place for the next six months.
The commission now plans further talks with China, before they decide whether to enforce definitive anti-dumping duties for up to five years.
A parallel anti-subsidy investigation on solar panels is also on-going, and measures could be imposed by August 2013.