No new anti-subsidy action on Chinese solar products

The EU confirmed this morning that the minimum price agreement and export volume cap agreed with the producers of Chinese solar wafers, cells and modules in the summer will effectively conclude parallel anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations.

The official EU announcement on Monday was not worded as such but effectively uses the agreement thrashed out by trade commissioner Karel De Gucht and his Chinese Ministry of Commerce counterpart in July as a blanket solution to the twin-track trade war.

Today’s EU press release announced the provisional anti-dumping duties of 47.6% applied to Chinese solar products since August would be extended for two years from Friday as a definitive measure.

But that hefty duty, which also definitively extends the provisional decision not to impose duties for the anti-subsidy aspect of the complaint by EU solar producers, does not in any case apply to Chinese manufacturers participating in the EU-brokered minimum price commitment and volume cap.

No extra punishment on subsidies

As predicted by pv magazine, the anti-subsidy investigation has concluded that subsidies were applied by the Chinese government in contravention of World Trade Organization rules but has decided no extra punishment be meted out in relation to this over and above the De Gucht trade deal.

European manufacturers who called for separate action on subsidies and who criticized the deal cut with Chinese producers as too lenient will no doubt assume the lack of action related to subsidies was part of the deal thrashed out in the summer.

The trade agreement has now been updated to include the anti-subsidy aspect of the decision by the European Council to accept the Commission’s recommendations and to expand the number of Chinese exporters participating in the trade deal – some 97 manufacturers, including all of the Chinese major players.

The decision on the twin investigations is expected to be published in the official journal of the EU on Thursday and the trade agreement will officially come into force on Dec. 6.