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Updated: Commission to decide alone on solar panel duty compromise

 

The EU Commission is set to act alone in a disputed solar panel antidumping case after appeals committee puts case in limbo.

 

EU member states comprising 48 percent of the EU’s population agreed on Friday (17 February 2017) to the Commission’s revised proposal on the extension of solar panel duties and a price undertaking on solar cells from China. Though this is not a majority, given the high rate of abstentions (ca 38 percent of the population), the measure is expected to pass. France and Germany have been among those agreeing to the new proposal, according to a diplomatic source.

Late January, member states in the antidumping committee rebuffed a Commission proposal tabled before Christmas 2016 to extend  these measures for another two years. Introduced in 2013 the duties were extended in late 2015 to allow for an expiry review. The Commission’s 109-page investigation report resulting from the review concluded that China’s solar industry faces “likelihood of recurrence of subsidisation”, leading the EU body to recommend an extension of the duties.

After the member state rebuff, the Commission brought the case to an appeal committee, whose deliberations delivered the above outcome. The EU’s new proposal tabled early February proposed to shorten the duration of the duties to eighteen months, instead of two years, and to not renew them afterwards.

The settlement text submitted to the appels committee subsequently removed the notion that there will be no further expiry review (hence that duties could still be extended).

To the Commission, the member states have in fact taken no decision. “In light of the “no opinion” expressed by the appeal committee, the Commission will draw its final conclusion in the coming days”, a Commission spokesman told Borderlex.

A final decision is expected on 4 March 2017, the Commission said.

 

Last updated on 21/02/2017. 19:00 CET.