Chinese modules with Taiwanese cells still Chinese

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The European Commission has rejected industry claims that a recent clarification about the origins of solar modules made in China from Taiwanese cells exempted the panels from minimum module price and export cap requirements.

In July, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht negotiated a minimum module price for Chinese-made modules as well as an annual cap on the amount of panels that could be exported to Europe, said to be 7 GW of the estimated 10 GW China exports to the EU.

On Jan. 27, pv magazine cited an industry source who claimed that a decision made by the EU in December that clarified rules of origin exempted panels assembled in China with Taiwanese cells from the trade agreement and made it highly unlikely that the amount of panels manufactured with Chinese cells would reach the 7 GW figure.

Helene Banner, the European Commission’s press officer for EU Trade Policy, told pv magazine that the measures (including duty or minimum import price) apply to both "goods originating in China" as well as to "goods consigned from China, irrespective of their origin."

Therefore, modules assembled in China with Taiwanese cells would be caught by the second condition, since they are assigned from China, Banner said.

The Commission sought to clarify the rules of origin in an effort to prevent Chinese manufacturers from sending semi-finished modules to other third countries and selling them from those countries as made in those countries, thereby avoiding the measures, according to Commission officials.

By now having the cells themselves defining the origin of modules, such goods will be clearly seen as still being "made in China" and subject to the measures, the added.