EU Holds Fire on Anti-Subsidy Duties on Chinese Solar Panels

The European Union refrained from imposing preliminary anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese solar panels, opting to wait four more months to assess whether such levies are warranted in the biggest EU trade fight of its kind.

The European Commission waived the right to introduce provisional EU duties to counter alleged trade-distorting government aid to Chinese solar-panel manufacturers. The commission, the 28-nation EU’s regulatory arm, will study whether “definitive” anti-subsidy levies should be applied no later than Dec. 8.

Five days ago, the commission approved an agreement with China to curb EU imports of solar panels as part of a parallel probe into below-cost sales, a practice known as dumping. The accord, which took effect yesterday, sets a minimum price and a volume limit on EU imports of Chinese solar panels until the end of 2015. Chinese manufacturers that take part are being spared provisional EU anti-dumping duties as high as 67.9 percent.

“The provisional anti-dumping measures and the price undertaking on the same products already remove the injury suffered by the union industry,” John Clancy, the commission’s trade spokesman, said in a statement today in Brussels. “The decision not to impose any provisional anti-subsidy measures does, however, not prejudge the final outcome of the anti-subsidy investigation. The commission will continue working actively on the case.”

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