EU Commission retracts on the Chinese solar panel case

Press conference by Karel De Gucht, Member of the European Commission, on the amicable solution in the EU/China solar panels case, (EC Audiovisual Services).

Press conference by Karel De Gucht, Member of the European Commission, on the amicable solution in the EU/China solar panels case, (EC Audiovisual Services).

In an unexpected move the European Commission announced on Wednesday 7 August that it “…continues anti-subsidy investigation on solar panels from China…”, and this only a few days after Commissioner Karel De Gucht, responsible for foreign trade had announced on 27 July that the issue had been concluded ‘amicably’ between Brussels and Beijing. In contrast to that De Gucht said last Wednesday that “in this case, the investigation will continue without provisional measures and the Commission will continue working actively on the case in order to arrive to definitive findings that are due at the end of this year”.

According to this announcement the anti-subsidy investigation will be running in parallel to the EU’s anti-dumping investigation on solar panels as was initiated on 8 November 2012 upon a complaint by the Union industry. However the two investigations had been running in parallel for many months now and understandably the ‘amicable’ agreement between Brussels and Beijing adequately covered the damage to the European solar panel industry. De Gucht himself on 27 July has stated “We found an amicable solution in the EU-China solar panels case that will lead to a new market equilibrium at sustainable prices”. What made the Commission to retract so openly, risking more counter action from Beijing?

The answer has to be looked for in the way the major international media interpreted De Gucht’s ‘amicable agreement’. Commentators concluded that the European Commission had bowed to the will of Berlin. On 27 May the European Sting writer George Pepper stressed that “The visit of the new Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China and party secretary of the State Council, Li Keqiang to Germany paid tangible dividends. After meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel he got an official and public promise from her that Berlin will intervene in the Brussels procedures, to cool down European Commission’s aggressive action against alleged Chinese state subsidies to a number of companies and their possible price dumping practices in EU markets.“

On that occasion Keqiang’s visit to Europe was restricted only to Berlin. Germany is not only the largest by far EU exporter to China. Many German giant automotive and other engineering firms are making a large part of their profits from their sales in China. It is too much of a risk for Berlin to start a trade war with Beijing. That is why Merkel came out so openly backing Beijing over its trade disputes with the European Commission. Consequently world media interpreted De Gucht’s ‘amicable’ arrangement with Beijing as a capitulation of the European Commission to the will of Berlin.

Seemingly this proved to be too much for the Commission to stomach and the EU’s executive arm had to do something to mitigate the exposure. To this effect De Gucht now tries to separate the anti-dumping from the anti-subsidy investigation over the Chinese solar panel selling prices. The dumbing issue however has been resolved ‘amicably’ on 27 July with the Chinese producers having agreed to raise the selling prices of their solar panels exported to the EU and the Commission agreeing that this was enough “to lead to a new market equilibrium at sustainable prices“.

Now however De Gucht says that “The agreement on an undertaking announced on 27 July 2013 is based on the provisional measures imposing anti-dumping duties. The undertaking entered into force on 6 August. The Commission has expressed its readiness to follow the necessary procedures to include the anti-subsidy investigation into the undertaking at the definitive stage, should such action be warranted”.

In short the Commission now backtracks on its decision and says what the Chinese accepted under the ‘amicable agreement’ might not prove enough and the EU may increase the undertaking. This means that the obligation the Chinese producers have already undertaken on 27 July to increase the selling price of their products might not lead to a sustainable arrangement in the EU solar panels markets. Consequently the Commission may “include the anti-subsidy investigation into the undertaking at the definitive stage, should such action be warranted”. In any case the deadline for the imposition of definitive duties in both cases (anti-dumping and anti-subsidy) is 5 December 2013.

Now the problem is what the Chinese reaction would be. Beijing may not hasten to react because there is plenty of time for negotiations until 5 December. If however Beijing accepts to re-negotiate the undertaking, it will be as if China is ready to increase its ‘contribution’. While commenting on the agreement of 27 July the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) considered the whole affair as finally settled. According to the relevant press release issued on 5 August MOFCOM spokesman, Shen Danyang, “made comments to applause and welcome such agreement”. Now everything starts from the beginning.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

France is building a village for people with Alzheimer’s

A Sting Exclusive: “Digital iron curtain makes no sense in 5G era”, by China’s Ambassador to EU Mr. Zhang Ming

Reintegrating former rebels into civilian life a ‘serious concern’ in Colombia: UN Mission chief

Deadly Mali attack to be investigated by UN rights experts

Can medical students be prepared for Global Health ethical issues?

“The winner is who can accelerate the transition to a new digital era”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015: a Digital Europe 4.0

The digital transformation is a skills and education opportunity for all. Companies must use it

Trade: EU-Singapore agreement to enter into force on 21 November 2019

These vending machines are giving out free short stories to London commuters

Turning Europe into a giant wind farm could power the entire world

Transition between education and employment: how the internship culture is threatening the foundations of our education

How women are transforming the Arab world’s start-up scene

Is history a new NATO weapons against Russia?

WHO chief underscores need to address climate change following visit to Bahamas

7 of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in India

We need to rethink the way we heat ourselves. Here’s why

“Beyond the beach: tackling plastic pollution upstream”, a Sting Exclusive by Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

Turkey’s foreign bribery enforcement framework needs to be urgently strengthened and corporate liability legislation reformed

More funding needed to tackle child labour in agriculture says UN, marking World Day

Mass-graves found of at least 535 killed during ‘organized and planned’ inter-communal attacks in western DR Congo

Antitrust: Commission imposes binding obligations on Gazprom to enable free flow of gas at competitive prices in Central and Eastern European gas markets

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commission’s Vice President Šefčovič accentuates the importance of innovation to EU’s Energy Union

Energy Union: EU invests a further €800 million in priority energy infrastructure

Cédric in India

A refugee from Syria cries out: “I’m not just a number!”

Why the financial scandals multiply?

This is what countries are doing to fight plastic waste

Following the World Cup? Then you’re watching high-performing migrants at work

Is your smart home as safe as you think?

Encouraging progress made in 2018, in ‘zero tolerance’ effort to end sexual exploitation and abuse across UN

Human Resources Information Systems Specialist Trainee – 2013

Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds

Global economy to see ‘steady’ growth of three per cent in 2019 despite risks, says UN

Why India can show us how to achieve growth with purpose

The EU parliamentary elections, explained

rescEU assets mobilised to help Greece fight devastating forest fires

Afghanistan: UN mission condemns deadly attack near Kabul airport

Cyclone Idai: UNICEF warns of ‘race against time’ to protect children, prevent spread of disease in flood-ravaged Mozambique

MEPs back plans to promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

Opposite cultures: Should it be a problem?

Making technology work for 1.3 billion Indians

The cost of generating renewable energy has fallen – a lot

Palestinian students ‘compelled to drop dreams because of financial cuts’

Governments should renew efforts to reform support to agriculture

Let the Italians have it their way, it may be good for all Eurozone

“Fortress Europe”, “Pegida” and its laughing stocks

Our Digital Future

Bank resolutions set to remain a national affair

Internet milestone reached, as more than 50 per cent go online: UN telecoms agency

Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: defence against Russia or target for terrorists?

Three-quarters of South Sudanese children have known nothing but war, says UNICEF

The EU finally seizes the opportunity to support the sharing economy?

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: UN Secretary-General Announces “Climate Action 2016” Partnership

4 ways sporting events are becoming more sustainable

MEPs spell out priorities for the European Central Bank and on banking union

Scale of displacement across Myanmar ‘very difficult to gauge’, says UN refugee agency

This warehouse is one of the world’s greenest industrial buildings

In the future of work it’s jobs, not people, that will become redundant

UN and civil society team up to make cities more sustainable and inclusive

UN rights chief ‘alarmed’ by upsurge in attacks against civilians in Syria’s Idlib

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s