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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European solar panel manufacturers have won an extension of restrictions on Chinese imports after the European Commission agreed on Saturday to a review that keeps curbs in place for at least a year.
Seeking to resolve a dispute about cheap Chinese imports, the Commission in 2013 set a minimum sales price and a limit on the number of Chinese-made solar panels, wafers and cells sold in the European Union.
The restrictions were due to expire this month but the Commission said it had decided to consider a request by EU ProSun, an association of EU producers, to extend them.
"The request is based on the grounds that the expiry of the measures would be likely to result in continuation of dumping and recurrence of injury to the (EU) industry," the Commission said in its Official Journal, referring to EU industry concerns that Chinese rivals would be able to import free of tariffs.
The Commission's decision to start a so-called expiry review extends the current arrangement for at least a year while it is assessed.
"As long as Chinese manufacturers fail to comply with basic international trade and competition rules, the EU must maintain the measures in full force and effect," EU ProSun said in a statement.
European producers accuse China, whose solar exports to the EU rose to 21 billion euros ($21.2 billion) in 2011, of using soft loans and export credits to try to corner the EU market.
China denies any wrongdoing, arguing that its products are more competitive.
Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Helen Popper