China Won’t Levy Duties on Polysilicon From European Suppliers

China decided not to levy duties on polysilicon imported from the European Union, ending a threat against suppliers such as Germany’s Wacker Chemie AG, Europe’s largest maker of the raw material used in most solar panels.

The Ministry of Commerce said the decision was temporary and was made because of a “special market situation,” in a statement today on its website. It didn’t elaborate on the special situation. China had already determined EU polysilicon makers were selling at prices below their costs.

The outcome of China’s fair-trade case against the EU -- if it’s not reversed -- should help to wind down a dispute over solar-energy components that stretched over three continents and was becoming a trade war. Polysilicon is the main ingredient in solar cells, and China is the world’s largest producer of the devices that power solar panels.

The U.S. in 2012 imposed anti-dumping duties, or tariffs, of as much as 250 percent on solar cells imported from China and anti-subsidy penalties of about 15 percent. The EU followed with provisional duties of as much as 67.9 percent in June. China began investigating EU polysilicon importers in 2012.

In July, China settled with the EU on a minimum price and a volume limit on European imports of Chinese solar panels until the end of 2015, in return for EU tariffs being dropped. The U.S. polysilicon suppliers that also were investigated by China received anti-dumping duties of as much as 57 percent. Those haven’t been reversed.

Separately, the U.S. is expanding its fair-trade investigation to Taiwan-made solar cells to close a loophole SolarWorld Industries America said allows Chinese competitors to avoid the tariffs.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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