EU likely to continue Chinese solar glass duties

Hefty provisional duties introduced last year by the European Commission on Chinese imports of solar glass used in solar panels have been approved by the EU, according to Reuters, which cited EU sources. The move means that the anti-dumping measures will remain in place for the next five years.

Duties of between 17.1% and 42.1% were provisionally introduced in November 2013 after a solar glass complaint was lodged by EU ProSun Glass. The company claimed that Chinese manufacturers had produced more than twice the global demand of solar glass between 2009 and 2012 in a period that saw China snaffle 29% of the EU market.

Although the solar glass market in the EU represents just a tiny proportion of EU-China trade (just $276.5 million out of more than $300 billion in trade), the ruling could upset relations that had only recently cooled.

A far larger trade dispute raged last year over the alleged dumping and subsidy support for Chinese-made solar panels and components. In a case worth more than €21 billion, the European Commission had initially proposed heavy duties on Chinese suppliers, but later agreed to allow a certain volume at a fixed price after vociferous dissent from many EU member states.

Last month, Beijing dropped a series of long-running investigations into EU imports – ranging from wine to polysilicon – in what was viewed as an encouraging easing of tensions. For its part, the EU also dropped part of its complaint over a telecoms dispute.

This latest move, however, threatens to spark further EU-China spats, with the definite duties due to be implemented in May and to run for a period of five years.