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EU Imposes Anti-Dumping Tariffs On Chinese Solar Panels

The European Commission on Tuesday announced its decision to impose provisional tariffs on solar panels imported from China, aimed at countering the dumping of these products on the European market.

"Today the European Commission has decided to impose provisional anti-dumping duties on imports of solar panels, cells and wafers from China," read a press release issued by the Commission on Tuesday.

An ongoing investigation found that Chinese solar panels were sold to Europe far below their normal market value. The Commission expects the new duties to alleviate the harm caused to the European industry by this unfair trade practice of dumping.

"As the market for and imports of solar panels in the EU is very large, it is important for this duty not to disrupt it. Therefore, a phased approach will be followed with the duty set at 11.8% until 6 August 2013. From August on the duty will be set at the level of 47.6% which is the level required to remove the harm caused by the dumping to the European industry," the press release said.

The decision comes after a nine-month investigation launched in September 2012. During the investigation, the Commission found that Chinese companies were selling solar panels to Europe at far below their normal market value, causing significant harm to EU solar panel producers.

The investigation indicated the fair value of a Chinese solar panel sold to Europe should be 88% higher than the price to which it is actually sold. It also found that the dumped Chinese exports had a significant negative effect on the financial and operational performance of European producers.

According to the Commission, highly innovative EU companies are currently being exposed to immediate threats of bankruptcy because of unfair competition from Chinese exporters, who have taken over more than 80% of the EU market and whose production capacity currently amounts to 150% of global consumption.

Nevertheless, the Commission acknowledged that some jobs could be lost among companies installing solar panels as a result of Tuesday's decision. It, however, noted that the situation would improve as production of EU companies improve and imports from other countries increase.

"Any job losses would in any case be substantially less than the 25,000 jobs in the EU solar production industry that are likely to be lost forever if measures are not imposed," the Commission stressed.

The Commission reiterated its readiness to pursue discussions with Chinese exporters and with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in order to find a solution in line with Article 8 of the Basic Anti-Dumping Regulation so that provisional duties can be suspended and a negotiated solution achieved.

The Commission also reaffirmed its willingness to have the EU-China Joint Committee in the next weeks at a mutually agreeable date to "discuss in a constructive manner all topics of our trade relations in line with our common WTO commitments and in the spirit of our strategic partnership."

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