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Solar Anti-Dumping Tariffs Could Spread to Germany

Merkel Wants Settlement, Companies Want Action

Written by Swagato Chakravorty
Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:46PM

While on a recent visit to Beijing, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed desires to reach a settlement on the question of anti-dumping and countervailing duty disputes over Chinese photovoltaic manufacturers. Evidently, Germany is keen on avoiding a trade dispute with China.

However, Merkel’s tone is at odds with recent statements made by newly-appointed German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, who expressed support for the idea of anti-dumping lawsuits if it turns into a case of unfair competition. There were rumors that Altmaier had hoped to raise the issue with Merkel, but the latter’s subsequent remarks indicate that Altmaier had, perhaps, been overruled.

Over here in the U.S., the administration has already initiated anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations into Chinese-manufactured photovoltaic equipment, and it has imposed steep tariffs. The European Commission has also been considering similar moves.

Spearheaded by SolarWorld (ETR: SWV), EU ProSun launched at the close of July to helm European trade complaints against China, citing “unfair competition” and dumping concerns. Should the European Commission accept their complaint, it would have to render a decision by 2013 at the latest. That would allow for the possibility of retroactive tariffs.

China, of course, has initiated counter-investigations into solar-grade polysilicon imports from the U.S. and Korea, and has been considering similar actions in Europe.

However, all this brouhaha has attracted attention from various quarters. Last week, the International Photovoltaic Equipment Association issued a criticism of the filed complaint, calling instead for the solar sector’s associations to unite their strengths. Germany’s VDMA Photovoltaic Equipment also claimed that German manufacturers of photovoltaic components and equipment view the continuing anti-dumping drama with growing concern.

Should measures be taken on both sides, the prices of panels are likely to rise.

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