EU trade case: No agreement reached for now

Negotiations between the European Commission and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce over the import of cheaper crystalline modules, cells and wafers seem to have come to a standstill as of midday today. The talks have failed to reach a conclusion according to an industry insider. The EC refused to comment on this to pv magazine.

The possibility of a compromise was looming until midday today. The Commission updated member states on the talks in midweek outlining its proposition to implement a maximum import ceiling of 7 GW on Chinese modules and a minimum module import price of €0.57/W (US$0.76/W).

Beijing had reportedly reached an agreement over the import ceiling for modules with the EU, but the import price became a touchy topic at today’s talks, leading negotiations to stall, pv magazine was told by industry sources. The Chinese delegation declined the minimum import price of €0.57/W and apparently decided to discontinue negotiations.

From the Chinese point of view, €0.57 is unacceptable since Asian and European manufacturers who buy cells from Asia already offer prices far more affordable, according to insider information. Hence Beijing pushed for €0.55/W. Sources close to the talks told pv magazine the EU made clear it is unwilling to compromise on a lower price. This led to the Chinese delegation halting negotiations for now. As a result it appears the import ceiling compromise of 7 GW is also off the table.

The Chinese delegation will discuss their strategy on Sunday, pv magazine learned. Whether or not a compromise will be reached by August 5 remains to be seen.

Translated and edited by Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger