EU Panel Penalties to Hurt China

The European Union is poised to penalize imports of Chinese solar products, a move that would increase Europe’s cost for most photovoltaic panels an estimated 45 percent overnight.

While officials from the U.S., China and the EU have engaged in preliminary talks to settle a dispute over trade in solar-energy products, according to people familiar with the situation, the EU yesterday said it will stick to its June 6 deadline to decide whether to impose import duties. The EU proposal for tariffs would hurt manufacturers such as China’s Trina Solar Ltd and raise costs to build power plants in Europe, the world’s largest market for solar products and one largely supplied by Chinese manufacturers.

Duties will trigger “an increase in prices that is a major concern for Chinese producers as well as developers in the region, who may find that many solar projects are no longer viable,” according to Jenny Chase, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s chief solar analyst. “The proposed anti-dumping tariffs are higher than the industry expected.”

The penalties would target at least 20 billion euros ($26 billion) of goods from China for alleged dumping, or selling below cost. That won’t be enough to revive a withering solar manufacturing industry in Europe, according to Ash Sharma, a senior director of solar at research firm IHS Inc.