The Sino-EU solar trade dispute is broadening in scope. SolarWorld appears to have been successful in extending EC inquiries into crystalline silicon PV cells and modules from Chinese companies being exported from Malaysia and Taiwan.
The EC launched the investigation today, after its initial investigations turned up: a significant change in the pattern of trade involving exports from the Peoples Republic of China, Malaysia and Taiwan to the Union has taken place following the imposition of the [countervailing duty] measures, without sufficient due cause or economic justification for such a change other than the imposition of the duty.
It initially appears that the investigation will not apply to modules or components produced in Malaysia by non-Chinese companies. The EC documentation notes that products with a CN code will be investigated.
Both SunPower and Hanwha Q Cells produce c-Si modules in Malaysia. pv magazine has contacted the EC for clarification as to whether these manufacturers will be included in the investigation.
Thin film modules, and therefore First Solar products, are explicitly excluded from the investigation.
This latest EC investigation can last six months and the EC has ordered records be kept of c-Si solar imports into the EU be kept, opening the way for retroactive duties to be levied.
A number of Chinese manufacturers have negotiated a minimum import price regarding exports to the EU, however problems as to whether these have been adhered to have emerged in recent months. ET Solar, Canadian Solar and ReneSola were all identified by the EC as having taken measures to make the enforcement of the minimum price practicable and therefore voiding the agreement.