EU: Anti-circumvention duties for Chinese solar products shipped via Taiwan, Malaysia

The EC, which launched an investigation this May 29 into Chinese companies shipping solar PV panels and cells to the EU via Taiwan and Malaysia, thus dodging anti-dumping duties, has found evidence supporting the claims. As such, it has set anti-circumvention duties of 53.4% and anti-subsidy duties of 11.5%. A full list of the companies not affected by the duties can be found at the end of the article.

Based on the investigation, 3% of cells and 7% of panels from Taiwan to the EU were from "non-cooperating" companies – those either circumventing duties or which did not reply to the EC’s questionnaire – compared to 9% of panels from Malaysia.

"The request provided prima facie evidence that … a significant change in the pattern of trade involving exports from the PRC, Malaysia and Taiwan to the Union occurred, which seemed to be caused by the imposition of the measures in force," wrote the EC. See table below for more details:

Imports (MW)

2012

2013

2014

Reporting

Period (RP)

Growth

Rate 2012 – RP

PRC to EU

11,119

5,584

3,443

3,801

-66%

Malaysia to EU

466

495

1,561

1,610

245%

Taiwan to EU

1,375

1,557

1,752

1,793

30%

Total imports to EU

15,740

10,300

8,067

8,325

-47%

Companies have until January 6 to comment on the ruling, a final decision on which is slated for the end of February. Duties will be applied retroactively on companies which have either been found to circumvent the duties, or which have not cooperated with the EC in its investigation, from May 30, 2015.

Speaking to pv magazine, James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe said the association does not support companies found guilty of circumventing and that they should be punished accordingly. Holger Krawinkel, spokesperson for Solar Alliance for Europe (SAFE) agreed, telling pv magazine, "These companies have failed to comply with applicable law and the consequences of the Commission are justified in this case."

He added, "However, this does not change the fundamental problem that the minimum import price and tariffs stifle the European solar industry. If the recently announced targets [at the climate talks] in Paris are to be achieved, we are also reliant on strong PV growth in Europe. This requires cheap modules in order to stimulate demand. An expansion of trade barriers is not doing this." Watson concurred, stating that removal of the MIP is necessary.

Equally predictable was the response of Milan Nitzschke, president of EU ProSun and spokesperson for SolarWorld, which filed for the investigation in April. Nitzschke said Chinese manufacturers have cheated not only the EC, but also their direct competitors who adhered to the anti-dumping measures and their customers in Europe "who are now paying the price."

He added that in the last few months, Chinese manufacturers have been looking to other places, including Thailand and India, to dodge duties. "If it turns out in the investigations, which are carried out in addition to the European Commission by national and European custom authorities, reveal [similar results], further measures have not been ruled out."

The following companies will not be affected by the EC’s decision:

Country

Company

Malaysia

AUO – SunPower Sdn. Bhd

Flextronics Shah Alam SDN. Bhd

Hanwha Q CELLS Malaysia Sdn. Bhd

Panasonic Energy Malaysia Sdn. Bhd

TS Solartech Sdn. Bhd

Taiwan

ANJI Technology Co., Ltd

AU Optronics Corporation

Big Sun Energy Technology Inc.

EEPV Corp.

E-TON Solar Tech. Co., Ltd

Gintech Energy Corporation

Gintung Energy Corporation

Inventec Energy Corporation

Inventec Solar Energy Corporation

LOF Solar Corp.

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