Already on September 6, the EC launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of photovoltaic panels, cells and wafers from China, after EU ProSun, led by SolarWorld, filed a complaint. Now, just weeks later, it has said it will also instigate an anti-subsidy, or countervailing duty investigation, following a second complaint lodged by EU ProSun on September 26.
As with the U.S. case, SolarWorld claims that Chinese photovoltaic panels, and their key components benefit from unfair government subsides. In a statement released, the EC said, "In terms of value of imports affected, this is the most significant anti-subsidy complaint the European Commission has received so far: in 2011, China exported solar panels and their key components worth around 21 billion to the EU."
It added that the investigation is expected to take 13 months. However, after nine months, it would be possible to impose provisional anti-subsidy duties.
Already in retaliation to the launch of the anti-dumping investigation, China initiated its own investigation into imports of polysilicon from the EU. Responding, EU spokesman John Clancy told pv magazine, "The Commission is examining carefully the subsidy allegations put forward in the complaint. We will fully cooperate with the Chinese authorities in this proceeding to defend our rights, in close coordination with the other relevant authorities in charge of the alleged subsidy programmes, including the German authorities and the European Investment Bank."
China also lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization on November 5, stating that FIT schemes in Italy, Greece and other EU member states include domestic content restrictions and are inconsistent with the GATT 1994, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures.