EU Officially Imposes Tariffs on Solar Imports from China

EU Officially Imposes Tariffs on Solar Imports from China

The European Commission’s plans to impose heavy duties on solar technology imports from China will proceed despite staunch opposition from the majority of EU member states, including Germany. Precise details concerning the duties will be released today and are expected to come into force tomorrow, June 6th 2013.

However, in attempt to foster continued dialogue with the Chinese and to avoid escalating the conflict, initial tariffs will be set at 11.8 percent as opposed to 47 percent as originally announced. Germany, Britain and the Netherlands, along with 15 other member states, have stated their opposition to any form of punitive measures by Brussels. They fear retaliation from China, which could have a serious impact on export dependent industries at home.

At the press conference held yesterday to announce the duties, EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht stated that the tariffs at their current lowered rate “provide a clear window of opportunity for negotiations.” Mr de Gucht continued: “the ball is now in China’s court.”

The current 11.8 percent rate will be maintained for two months, until August 6th. If the dispute is not resolved by then, the average rate will rise to 47 percent. In December, the higher rate will then be ‘locked in’ for a period of five years.

Italy and France have sided with Brussels on the issue and claim that state subsidies give Chinese solar manufacturers an unfair advantage in Europe. Chinese firms control 80 percent of the European market and the European Commission claims that solar panel production in China is 1.5 times total global demand.

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(Wikimedia Commons image courtesy of Fernando Tomás)

About the Author:

Sebastian Andrei is NABATAEANS’ editor for EU - Middle East Trade and Political Relations. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Vienna, where he majored in journalism with minors in political science as well as business and economics. Sebastian is responsible for reporting on the European Union’s external trade relations. He also writes about economic development and investment opportunities in Europe as well as about policy changes which affect the EU common market.

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