EU considers possibility of negotiated settlement with the U.S. for China solar trade dispute


The EU Trade commissioner and the Chinese vice minister held an informal meeting to discuss the EU's plans to impose provisional anti-dumping duties of an average 47% on Chinese solar imports on Monday in Brussels. According to an EU statement, De Gucht is willing to negotiate a solution, but Zhong did not offer any proposal.

However, EU Trade spokesman John Clancy said that this is not unusual because the formal stage of negotiations would only start "if and when a decision is taken on provisional tariffs by the legal deadline of June 5".

"It is the role of the European Commission to remain independent, to resist any external pressure and to see the ‘big picture' for the benefit of Europe, its companies and workers based upon the evidence alone," added Clancy in a statement.

De Gucht told Zhong that he was aware that China was exerting pressure on EU member states to oppose the AD solar duties. According to the EU Commission statement, De Gucht told Zhong that, if necessary, they would ask the U.S. to partner with them to help reach a negotiated settlement.

The Chinese side described the meeting as "constructive".

The EU Trade commissioner and Zhong also spoke about other trade issues, including Chinese mobile telecommunications equipment manufacturers Huawei and ZTE Corp. De Gucht recently said that he was evaluating the possibility of launching an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into these companies.

EU member states' stance

With respect to the EU member states’ stance on the anti-dumping duties, Germany, Britain and the Netherlands are among the 14 or 15 member states that are currently expressing their opposition to the punitive duties, diplomats told news agency Reuters. In contrast, France and Italy have expressed their support for the duties.

A source close to the EU-China dispute told pv magazine on Monday that a majority of the EU anti-dumping Committee – between 14 and 15 of the 27 member state representatives – is against the duties, although German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Monday that up to 17 member states have expressed their opposition to the AD duties. On Friday the Committee delivered non-binding comments on the trade case to the Commission.

In related news, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for an end to the trade dispute at a joint press conference in Berlin on Monday. Li’s two-day visit in Germany was his only trip to a EU member state on his first foreign trip after taking office in March.

The European Commission is planning to impose anti-dumping (AD) duties of 47% on Chinese solar imports from June 6 and can override the objections of EU member states to the imposition of these provisional duties.

In line with EU legal procedures, on June 6, when the Commission issues provisional findings, there will be three possible outcomes: the imposition of provisional AD duties for six months; an extension of the investigation without provisional duties; or a termination of the investigation.

In the event of the investigation continuing, the next deadline would be on December 5 when a decision will be made by the European Council whether to implement final AD duties on Chinese solar imports for five years or to dismiss duties.

Read more on the PV trade disputes around the world in pv magazine‘s dedicated Trade cases feature.

Popular content

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact:


Related content

Elsewhere on pv magazine...

Leave a Reply

Please be mindful of our community standards.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.

Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.

You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.

Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.