News / Economy

EU, China Resolve Solar Trade Dispute

An employee dries newly made solar panels at a factory of a photovoltaic company in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, June 5, 2013.An employee dries newly made solar panels at a factory of a photovoltaic company in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, June 5, 2013.
x
An employee dries newly made solar panels at a factory of a photovoltaic company in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, June 5, 2013.
An employee dries newly made solar panels at a factory of a photovoltaic company in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, June 5, 2013.
Reuters
China and the European Union defused their biggest trade dispute by far on Saturday with a deal to regulate Chinese solar panel imports and avoid a wider war in goods from wine to steel.
 
After six weeks of talks, the EU's trade chief and his Chinese counterpart sealed the deal over the telephone, setting a minimum price for panels from China near spot market prices.
 
European solar panel makers accuse China of benefitting from huge state subsidies, allowing them to dump about 21 billion euros ($28 billion) worth of below-cost solar panels in Europe last year, putting European firms out of business.
 
Other European industries that have accused China of dumping have faced imports of about 1 billion euros a year.
 
Europe planned to impose hefty tariffs from Aug. 6 but, wary of offending China's leaders and losing business in the world's No. 2 economy, a majority of EU governments — led by Germany — opposed the plan, which led to the compromise deal.
 
"We found an amicable solution," EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said. "I am satisfied with the offer of a price undertaking submitted by China's solar panel exporters," he said, referring to the minimum price for China's imports.
 
Chinese Commerce Ministry Spokesman Shen Danyang welcomed the deal, hailing a "positive and highly constructive outcome."
 
An EU diplomatic source said that in the solar agreement, the agreed price was 0.56 euro cents per watt, near the spot price for Chinese solar panels in July in Europe, according to solar exchange pvXchange.
 
Under the terms of the deal, China will also be allowed to meet about half Europe's solar panel demand, if taken at last year's levels. EU consumption was about 15 gigawatts in 2012, and China will be able to provide 7 gigawatts without being subject to tariffs under the deal, the EU source said.
 
Court challenge

That did not satisfy some EU solar manufacturers who said the minimum import price agreed still constitutes dumping and accused the European Commission of breaking EU law by failing to protect European industry.
 
European solar panel manufacturer association EU ProSun said it will go to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to challenge the deal.
 
"Even the biggest EU trade conflict ever must still be resolved on the basis of the applicable law," said EU ProSun's president, Milan Nitzschke.
 
However, China has sold solar panels for as little as 0.38 cents a watt, according to the European Commission, which handles trade issues for EU states, and tariffs would also hurt EU panel installers, who benefit from cheaper Chinese panels.
 
Chinese manufacturers such as U.S.-listed Trina Solar, Yingli Green Energy and Suntech Power Holdings are among those exporting to Europe.
 
Chinese solar panel production quadrupled between 2009 and 2011 to more than the world's entire demand as it took advantage of a growing market for renewable energy in the face of concerns about climate change.
 
But the global financial crisis and ensuing euro zone crisis have forced European governments to withdraw generous subsidies for solar energy. That, along with Chinese imports pushing down prices, have sent many European solar companies into bankruptcy.
 
German group Conergy filed for insolvency this month.
 
Still, those concerns have become secondary to the much larger EU-China trade relationship at stake over the panels dispute.
 
Europe is China's most important trading partner, while for the EU, China is second only to the United States. Chinese exports of goods to the bloc totaled 290 billion euros last year, with 144 billion going the other way.
 
Responding to the EU's move to impose duties, China launched an anti-dumping inquiry into European wine sales, which may have led to exporters in France, as well as Spain and Italy, being hit with retaliatory duties.
 
EU and Chinese diplomats now expect that case to be dropped as a goodwill gesture, although officials declined to comment on Saturday.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8957
JPY
USD
120.93
GBP
USD
0.6393
CAD
USD
1.2199
INR
USD
63.470

Rates may not be current.