BRUSSELS, March 13 The European Commission has
proposed denying three Chinese solar panel producers duty-free
access to European markets because of alleged violations of its
conditions, according to two sources familiar with the proposal.
The three, Chinese-Canadian Canadian Solar,
ReneSola and ET Solar, have until March 20 to make
written submissions to the Commission, with hearings then
possible. The Commission is expected to take a final decision in
late April or early May.
Canadian Solar and ReneSola said earlier this week that the
Commission had raised issues related to their compliance with
the duty-free access "undertaking", both adding they had fully
complied with the agreement. No one was immediately available to
respond at ET.
The European Union concluded an investigation in 2013 into
alleged dumping and illegal subsidies for Chinese solar panel
producers by allowing a limited amount of panels at a minimum
price and key components such as cells free of import duties.
For Chinese manufacturers not covered by the undertaking,
punitive duties amount to an average of 47.7 percent.
Based on monitoring of a sample of the 121 companies covered
by the undertaking, the Commission said its findings justified
withdrawing three companies. One source said eight companies had
The Commission, the EU's executive arm, said the three
companies variously failed to report sales as required, offered
benefits that effectively undercut the minimum price or sold
excessive amounts of other products to customers.
The Commission has also questioned the use of original
equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that assemble modules outside
China using cells from a third country, making monitoring was
The European Commission's inquiry into Chinese solar import
panels in 2012-2013 was its biggest to date in terms of value.
Imports of Chinese solar panels and related components into the
European Union were some 21 billion euros ($22 billion) in 2011.
The case stemmed from a complaint lodged by a group of
European companies led by Germany's SolarWorld, which
said Chinese competitors were dumping product on EU markets,
propped up by hefty illegal subsidies.
Responding to the EU's initial move to impose tariffs, China
hit European wine producers with retaliatory duties and the
trade dispute threatened to widen into other sectors, including
China and the European Union eventually resolved the dispute
in July 2013, with a deal allowing China to meet about half of
Europe's solar panel demand.
($1 = 0.9514 euros)
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)