The Dutch Ministry of Finance has revealed today that the European Commission has asked the Netherlands to pay €659 million for evading anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties introduced in 2013 on solar panels imported from China, Malaysia, and Taiwan.
According to the authorities in Brussels, the country has failed to impose €824 million in anti-dumping and countervailing duties on these imports between May 2015 and March 2017, due to an incorrect interpretation of the rules imposed by the European Commission. “The error of interpretation would concern imports of these goods shipped from third countries, such as Vietnam, India and Mexico, originating in Malaysia or Taiwan,” finance minister Wopke Bastiaan Hoekstra explained.
If the Dutch government will not pay the requested amount, the European Commission may open an infringement procedure at the EU Court of Justice and if this will rule in favor of the payment, the Netherlands will be also asked to pay default interest of €226 million on July 1, 2021, and of €275 million on July 1, 2022. “The Netherlands is not paying, for the time being, and is investigating possible solutions,” Hoekstra said in his statement, adding that informal talks with EU officials have already been started. “In order to carefully consider whether it is desirable and useful to await a possible infringement procedure, advice has been requested from the state attorney.”
The minister claimed that, if the modules are assembled and shipped from Mexico, India or Vietnam, the products can no longer be considered as shipped from Malaysia or Taiwan.
A few months after having introduced the duties, China and the EU sealed an agreement setting a minimum import price and quota for Chinese modules. Chinese module makers that joined the agreement were not hit with the EU duties. The duties were then eliminated in 2018.
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