E.U. duties on Chinese solar panels losing member-state support

Support for a plan to impose prohibitive duties on Chinese solar panel imports is dropping among E.U. member states, according to reports.

The European Commission has accused solar energy companies based in China of selling solar power equipment in Europe at below costs, and plans to enact duties averaging about 47 percent to resist this practice of “dumping.”

The E.U.‘s trade official, Karel De Gucht is working to strike a negotiated bargain with China that will leave all parties satisfied. Chinese officials have called these talks “constructive,” according to reports.

Duties could come into effect June 6, with the possibility of withdrawal should both sides agree to a settlement. A majority of E.U. member states oppose the anti-dumping measures, according to reports.

China’s share of the European solar market is worth roughly $27 billion, according to reports. This amounts to nearly 80 percent of the European market – up from almost nothing a few years ago. Supporters of the duties charge that this rapid growth could not have been possible without violations of international trade laws on the part of the Chinese government.

Officials from China say they will oppose any form of trade protectionism on Europe’s part, adding that free trade is in its national interest.

Germany and the Netherlands are among the 14 member states in opposition to the sanctions. Italy and France are prominent supporters of anti-dumping regulations.

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