EU: Big discrepancy expected between provisional and final AD solar duties

No results were achieved in Brussels with regard to provisional anti-dumping duties (AD) for crystalline photovoltaic products from China on Wednesday’s anti-dumping Committee session. The member States now have until May 24 to comment. Afterwards provisional duties starting in June 6 are likely to be imposed. Definitive duties could become due as of December. Insiders anticipate that there will be a clear discrepancy between the provisional and definitive import duties.
The so-called Anti-Dumping Committee (ADC) met in Brussels on Wednesday. The provisional import duties on crystalline photovoltaic products from China proposed by the EU Commission were listed as the last item on the agenda, according to information available to pv magazine. However, the meeting ended without a vote on the proposal. The EU member states, which like the EU Commission also have a respective Commission representative, now have until May 24 to take a position, according to insiders.
The representatives of the countries of the European Union purportedly have a number of further questions. In addition, the EU Commission apparently failed to adhere to the lead time of ten days. Normally the members of the anti-dumping committee are supposed to be given ten days’ time in order to discuss the EU Commission’s proposal.
However, it was only on May 8 that the Commission approved the proposal from EU Commissioner Karel de Gucht, which provides for provisional import duties of between 37 and 68% for Chinese solar imports. Furthermore, there was also some degree of skepticism from the EU Member States. All of this indicates that the procedure is less than a surefire success, an insider went on to report.
In the final analysis the standpoint of the various EU states is non-binding when it comes to the EU Commission’s decision on provisional AD duties. However, the EU Commission must have the support of the member states for the final decision on the import duties that is expected at the end of the year – which is why the prevailing opinion in Brussels is that there will be considerable discrepancy between the provisional import duties and the final decision.
"The ultimate result in December will look a lot different than the provisional duties in June," insiders told pv magazine. And it is also very likely that import duties will not be imposed retroactively. Theoretically the EU Commission could levy the charges on all crystalline photovoltaic products from China that were imported into the European Union since the beginning of the mandatory registration period from March to June.
Meanwhile, the German federal government strongly advocates an amicable solution in the trade dispute with China. It fears that it could have far-reaching consequences for the German economy in the event of photovoltaic import duties. At the end of May the Chinese premier will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
It is generally assumed that alternative solutions will then also be discussed. On Wednesday the economic committee of the Lower House of the German Parliament the majority of parliamentary groups voted against the imposition of import duties. At the same time, the opposition parties demanded that the federal government provide more support to the German solar industry.

Translated by Alan Faulcon; edited by Vera von Kreutzbruck.