China Solar Glass Hit With 5-Year EU Duties in Trade Spat

The European Union imposed five-year tariffs on solar glass from China to help EU producers counter alleged Chinese subsidies and price-undercutting, heightening trade tensions over renewable energy.

The duties as high as 36.1 percent punish Chinese exporters such as Xinyi PV Products (Anhui) Holdings Ltd. and Zhejiang Jiafu Glass Co. for receiving trade-distorting government aid and selling solar glass in the EU below cost, a practice known as dumping. The glass is used in solar panels, which are themselves the target of European anti-subsidy and anti-dumping levies against China.

EU solar-glass producers such as GMB Glasmanufaktur Brandenburg GmbH suffered “material injury” as a result of subsidized and dumped imports from China, the Brussels-based European Commission, the 28-nation bloc’s executive arm, said today in the Official Journal. The five-year duties will take effect tomorrow.

The duties are the outcome of investigations that the commission opened in early 2013 after dumping and subsidy complaints by a European group on behalf of manufacturers 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 ($274 million), the commission said when it opened the dumping inquiry in February 2013. The subsidy probe began in April last year.

Chinese Exporters

Chinese exporters increased their share of the EU solar-glass market to 30.5 percent in 2012 from 7.2 percent in 2009, the commission said today.

The five-year anti-dumping levies range from 0.4 percent to 36.1 percent, depending on the Chinese exporter. Xinyi PV Products faces the maximum rate. These follow provisional anti-dumping duties as high as 42.1 percent introduced in November.

The five-year anti-subsidy levies range from 3.2 percent to 17.1 percent, with Xinyi PV Products facing the minimum rate. In this case, the EU imposed no provisional anti-subsidy duties.

While China faces more EU anti-dumping duties than any other country, this marks only the fourth time the bloc has imposed anti-subsidy duties against the world’s most populous nation. Beyond solar panels, which marked the biggest EU trade dispute of its kind, the bloc’s other anti-subsidy levies against China target steel and paper.

In two continuing investigations, the EU is threatening to impose anti-subsidy duties on glass fibers and polyester staple fibers from China.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.