* Politicians warn of possible trade war
* Commission launched anti-dumping investigation last
By Ethan Bilby
BRUSSELS, Feb 20 EU member states have approved
a European Commission plan to register solar panels from China,
EU diplomats said, as the latest step toward duties on the 21
billion euro ($28.08 billion) import market.
The solar panel import market is one of the biggest trade
areas the Commission has ever tackled. Politicians have warned
the tensions between the EU and China, its second largest
trading partner, could erupt into a trade war.
On Wednesday, a regular meeting of representatives of EU
member states approved the proposal to register panels, the
It would allow duties to be placed retroactively on China
and its companies if they were found to have sold panels at less
than the cost of making them.
The diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity,
did not say when the registration would begin.
The Commission launched a probe into the dumping of Chinese
solar panels onto the EU market last September, and another in
November into illegal subsidies made to Chinese panel makers.
Both cases stem from a complaint by European solar
companies, led by Germany's SolarWorld, which claim to
have suffered financial harm due to cheap Chinese-manufactured
Chinese companies sold about 21 billion euros worth of solar
panels and components to the EU in 2011 - about 60 percent of
all Chinese exports of the product and some 7 percent of all
Chinese exports to the EU, according to Commission figures.
On Tuesday, European solar installers said that 60 percent
duties on Chinese panels could cost up to 242,000 jobs over
Although the European Commission does not legally need
member state approval to order the registration of products
under trade investigations, their backing is a gauge of whether
there is support for any eventual duties.