China Launches Trade Probes on EU Solar Products

Move comes as EU mulls duties targeting Chinese solar producers after companies accused Chinese rivals of "dumping."

November 4, 2012
Manufacturing Group

China says it is launching anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into imported European Union solar-grade polysilicon, in the latest instance of tit-for-tat trade tensions in the global solar industry.

The move comes as the EU's executive body mulls duties targeting Chinese solar producers, a probe launched in September after companies accused Chinese rivals of "dumping", or deliberately selling products for less abroad than at home.

The Commerce Ministry, in two statements posted to its website, said it would "merge" the EU investigations into ongoing probes of U.S. and South Korean-made solar products "to evaluate the accumulated impact of products from the three regions".

In October, China's largest state-owned utility, the State Grid Corp., said it was working on policies to help ailing solar power producers, including subsidies and easier access to the grid.

China's export-focused solar panel industry has been hit hard by excess manufacturing capacity and waning foreign demand as European nations cut back subsidies for green power.

Companies have slashed prices 30% this year as stockpiles grow, virtually erasing the industry's profits.

The Commerce Ministry says the probe is in response to complaints made by several Chinese companies, including Jiangxi LDK PV Silicon Technology Co., a subsidiary of LDK Solar., one of China's hardest hit solar manufacturers.

Major producers, including Suntech Power Holdings and Trina Solar, are turning to the domestic market, now one of the world's biggest, for solar energy development.

Excerpted from an article by Michael Martina and Hui Li. Click here to read the full article on Reuters.