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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

Harnessing the power of nature in the fight against climate change

EU and China resolve amicably solar panel trade dispute

United States: UN human rights office welcomes California moratorium on death penalty

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

ECB’s first flight in Eurozone’s banking universe will be just a reconnaissance

Blockchain will make sure green pledges aren’t just greenwash: a new initiative by young leaders at the World Economic Forum

These cities score an ‘A’ for environmental action – but hundreds more are falling behind

Planet’s Health is Our Health and the Reverse is True

The road ahead to building a more sustainable world

Bring killers of journalists to justice: UN agency seeks media partners for new campaign

The world is facing a $15 trillion infrastructure gap by 2040. Here’s how to bridge it

UN rights office calls for action to end ‘repression and retaliation’ in crisis-torn Nicaragua

Google once more under EU crossfire from a possible record fine and new Right to be forgotten case

IMF launches a new offensive against Germany

Business uncertainty rises as US grants only temporary exception to EU for steel and aluminium tariffs

At global health forum, UN officials call for strong, people-focused health systems

EU: Turkey to shelter Syrian refugees and turn other immigrants back in return of €3 billion

The European Agenda on Migration: EU needs to sustain progress made over the past 4 years

Except Poland, can climate change also wait until 2021 for the EU Market Stability Reserve to be launched?

Migrants and refugees face higher risk of developing ill-health, says UN report on displaced people in Europe

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

Britain, EU take edgy steps to unlock Brexit talks as the war of words rages

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: strategies and reflections

A Europe that protects: EU customs seized over 31 million fake goods at EU borders in 2017

How a more integrated approach could help to end energy poverty

Charlie’s tragedy energized deeper feelings amongst Europeans; back to basics?

State of the Union 2018: The Hour of European Sovereignty

YouTube stars get creative at UN, to promote tolerance

Venezuela must guarantee judicial impartiality – UN human rights expert

Asian and Pacific economies: decreases in tax revenue highlight need to broaden tax bases

Knowledge management and entrepreneurship: short term vs. long term perspective

How a possible EU budget deficit affects the migration crisis

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

What could a no-deal Brexit mean for developing countries?

It is me

3 megatrends for the factories of the future

Statement by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, on the successful conclusion of the final discussions on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – Brussels, 08 Dec 2017. (Copyright: European Union; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Georges Boulougouris)

The EU and Japan seal free trade pact that will cover 30% of global GDP

5 surprising ways digital technology is changing childhood

This Japanese TV show about work-life balance is a big hit – here’s why

Safe spaces offer security and dignity for youth, and help make the world ‘better for all’: Guterres

China is sending science students to live with rural farmers – and crop yields are skyrocketing

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

How can we measure real progress on the Sustainable Development Goals?

GSMA Reveals Shortlist For 2019 Asia Mobile Awards

Celebrating Gaston Ramon – the vet who discovered vaccinology’s secret weapon

Three ways to improve your corporate culture in the #MeToo era

Could implants treat people with brain disease? A young scientist explains

‘No other possibility but to leave’: UN News special report from the Nigeria-Cameroon border as 35,000 newly-displaced seek safety

E-Government can be a remedy for the crisis

These are the world’s 20 most dynamic cities

GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Europe – 14 June 2016

What does the future of energy look like, how do we get there, and who will benefit?

Central African Republic: UN chief hails signing of new peace agreement

Why we need a new social contract for data in healthcare

October’s EU strong digital mix: From Safe Harbour to Net Neutrality, Roaming and Snowden

Health & Sustainable Development Goals: it’s about doing what we can

Young people meet in Malta to shape the future of Europe

Why Obama asks approval from Congress to bomb Syria?

UNICEF delivers medical supplies to Gaza in wake of deadly protests

Don’t dismiss start-ups founded by millennials. This is how they succeed

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