EU Imposes Tariffs on Chinese Solar-Glass Exporters Up to 42.1%

The European Union imposed tariffs of as much as 42.1 percent on solar glass from China to curb import competition for EU producers, heightening trade tensions over renewable energy.

The duties punish Chinese exporters such as Zhejiang Jiafu Glass Co. and Xinyi PV Products (Anhui) Holdings Ltd. for allegedly selling glass in the EU below cost, a practice known as dumping. The glass is used in solar panels, which are themselves the focus of two European trade probes affecting China.

EU producers suffered “material injury” as a result of dumped imports from China, the European Commission, the 28-nation EU’s trade authority in Brussels, said yesterday in the Official Journal. The levies, which took effect today, are for six months and may be prolonged for five years.

The duties are the preliminary outcome of an investigation that the commission opened in February after a dumping complaint by a European group on behalf of producers that account for more than a quarter of EU production of solar glass. The EU solar-glass market is valued at less than 200 million euros ($272 million), the commission said when it opened the inquiry.

Chinese exporters increased their share of the EU solar-glass market to 28.8 percent in 2012 from 6.2 percent in 2009, the commission said. The provisional levies range from 17.1 percent to 42.1 percent, depending on the Chinese exporter. Zhejiang Jiafu Glass faces the maximum rate, while Xinyi PV Products is subject to a 39.3 percent duty.

EU governments, acting on a proposal from the commission, must decide within six months whether to turn the provisional anti-dumping duties into “definitive” levies lasting for five years. The rates for definitive duties can change.

Since last year, the EU has been investigating alleged subsidies to Chinese solar-panel makers and alleged dumping by them in the bloc’s biggest trade dispute of its kind. In August, the commission reached a provisional agreement China that fixed a minimum price and a volume limit on EU imports of Chinese solar panels until the end of 2015.

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