The European Commission has softened its attitude regarding the anti-dumping duties of Chinese solar panels. Reuters reports that the European Commission has voted to shorten the extension of the anti-dumping duties of Chinese solar products from the original 24 months to 18 months.
The European Union (EU) proposed to impose anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar imports in 2013 and at the same time launched minimum import price (MIP) to restrain the volume and price of the imported goods. This measure was supposed to be due in late-2015, but the EU decided to extend the existing measures for 15 months till March 2017 in response to a request by EU ProSun.
During the review in December 2016, the European Commission initially proposed to extend the measure to another two years till March 2019 and lower the MIP price in 2017. Yet, this decision triggered controversy, with the European manufacturers holding different opinions toward the decision.
According to Reuters, on February 8th (local time), 18 countries among the 28 members of the EU voted in favor of shortening the anti-dumping extension from 24 months to 18 months, which means the anti-dumping tariffs imposed on Chinese solar imports will be ended in September 2018. On the other hand, PV Magazine indicated that only 14 member countries voted against it. Therefore, the EU will follow the original plan to end the anti-dumping tariffs of Chinese solar products in late-2018.
The EU has imposed the highest anti-dumping duty of 64.9% and countervailing duty of 11.5% on Chinese solar imports that do not meet the requirement of the MIP agreement. The MIP of modules has been lowered from €0.56/W to €0.46/W this year and that of cells is €0.23/W.
The resolution will be announced in March 3rd.
Vendor benefits vs. Market demand
How the EU sets trade barriers on Chinese solar products reflects an opposition: Which one is more important? Local vendor benefits or demand toward low-priced products? This also has something to do with the trade protectionism held by the EU and Beijing.
Reuters quoted Luc Trangle, Chief Secretary of IndustriAll Europe, saying that sitting on the assessment of the European Commission and revealing weaknesses to China has already set a bad example for other industries. Milan Nitzschke, CEO of EU ProSun, is concerned that 18 months would be enough for China to take control of the entire PV industry.
Yet, SolarPower Europe, which has always been opposed to trade barriers, believes removing trade barriers is likely to help the PV development in Europe.
PV Magazine thinks the European Commission’s proposal is suggesting that the EU may be inclined to slowly withdraw from the anti-dumping and countervailing measures.
According to EnergyTrend’s observation, since China has completed most of its capacity deployment in third-party countries and many manufacturers (including top-tier makers) have left or got withdrawn from the MIP agreement, Europe’s trade barriers will have less and less impact on China. If those that stay in MIP can ship out high-efficiency products with better profits, they may be able to get some profits.