EU member states rubber-stamp panel trade deal

The European Commission today rubber-stamped the proposed EU-China solar panel trade deal announced by trade commissioner Karel de Gucht last weekend.

At the EU’s daily press briefing at lunchtime, a press spokesman refused to go into details of the vote among member states over a proposed minimum price for imported modules and a cap on import volumes from China, revealing only "a huge majority of member states voted in favour of the proposal and no member state voted against."

Member states voted to accept the price commitments made by Chinese manufacturers exporting panels to Europe – who have reportedly agreed to a minimum module price of €0.56/W (US$0.74/W), although this is yet to be confirmed – and will enact a regulation which will exempt those manufacturers signing up to the agreement from paying anti-dumping duties on products exported to the EU.

A second part of the deal thrashed out by commissioner de Gucht relates to a negotiated cap on the volume of Chinese-made panels which can be exported to Europe annually.

Initial reports quoted a fixed 7 GW limit but the EU – and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce – has since emphasized the cap will be a percentage of the total market for modules, without releasing the actual figure, thought to be around half of the market.

The commission’s decision will be published tomorrow and will come into effect from Tuesday.