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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7866
JPY
USD
109.25
GBP
USD
0.6139
CAD
USD
1.1120
INR
USD
61.428

Rates may not be current.