September 8, 2015 / 4:05 PM / 4 years ago

EU solar panel producers seek extension to Chinese import limits

BRUSSELS, Sept 8 (Reuters) - A group of European solar panel manufacturers has asked the European Commission to extend restrictions on imports of Chinese solar power products, a move that could revive a politically charged tussle between Brussels and Beijing.

The European Commission set in place in 2013 an arrangement allowing Chinese manufacturers to sell into the EU a limited number of solar panels, wafers and cells at a minimum price, following a complaint from the European group, EU ProSun.

Imports from Chinese producers not part of this undertaking are subject to duties of up to 64.9 percent.

The duties and duty-free arrangment expire in mid-December.

EU ProSun, an association of EU producers, said it had filed an application last Thursday to extend them.

The association did not welcome the EU settlement with Chinese solar module producers but wants it to be renewed. Otherwise, Chinese rivals will be able to sell into the EU free of tariffs.

Assuming the European Commission agrees to start at so-called expiry review, the undertaking and anti-dumping duties would extend for at least a year while the it is assessed.

The review is one of a number of actions EU ProSun is taking to contend with what it says is a continued assault from Chinese rivals even after a 2013 settlement.

That settlement warded off a mounting trade battle between Brussels and Beijing, the latter saying that the European Union was unfairly targeting a sector whose exports to the EU rose to 21 billion euros in 2011.

The Commission is already investigating a complaint that Chinese solar companies are trying to evade import tariffs by shipping their products via Taiwan and Malaysia.

The Commission has already proposed denying six Chinese solar panel producers from the duty-free undertaking because of alleged violations of its conditions.

They include Canadian Solar, ReneSola and Chint Solar. (Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop, editing by William Hardy)

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