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China Probes EU Solar-Silicon Imports for Dumping, Subsidies

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China, which is embroiled with the U.S. in a dispute related to solar-energy taxes, has started anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probes on solar-grade polysilicon imported from the European Union.

The investigation, scheduled to last a year from today with the possibility of an extension to May 1, 2014, will cover the 12 months from July 1, 2011, according to two statements posted to the website of China’s Ministry of Commerce.

The actions come after the EU said in September that it opened an investigation into whether Chinese manufactures sold solar panels and cells and wafers used in them at a loss. The global average spot price of polysilicon in the week beginning Oct. 22 dropped to a record of $18.3 a kilogram, below the cost of production for the majority of China’s polysilicon manufacturers, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“The announcement is more a response to the EU probe and the result will be highly dependent,” Wang Xiaoting, a Beijing-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said by phone. “If tariffs are imposed on the U.S. and EU imports, the entire downstream of Chinese photovoltaic manufacturing will face a more difficult situation.”

Jiangsu Zhongneng Polysilicon Technology Development Co., a unit of GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., Daqo New Energy Corp., LDK Solar Co. and China Silicon Corp. are among the companies that filed the complaint. Combined, the companies account for more than 50 percent of the raw material for solar cells in China during the past four years.

Investigations Combined

The investigation will be combined with another initiated by China in July on whether exporters from the U.S. and South Korea sold solar-grade polysilicon below cost, the ministry said.

China’s Ministry of Commerce is scheduled as early as this month to make preliminary findings on the earlier complaint that U.S. manufacturers are dumping polysilicon, two of the four companies that brought the case said in September.

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