The European Commission will conduct an investigation into anti-dumping claims initiated by SolarWorld and more than 20 European companies within the PV industry over wafers, cells and modules imported into the EU from Chinese manufacturers. The Commission has 15-months to investigate the claims and release its findings, while any possible sanctions would need to be imposed by December, 2013.
The Commission noted in a statement that; ‘in terms of import value affected, this is the most significant anti-dumping complaint the European Commission has received so far: in 2011, China exported solar panels and their key components worth around €21 billion to the EU.’
In response to the anti-dumping proceedings beginning, SolarWorld said that it welcomed the decision by the European Commission. SolarWorld through an ad hoc association, dubbed EU Pro Sun, which included over 20 manufactures within the EU, filed allegations of dumping with the Commission on the 25th of July, 2012.
According to the European Commission, questionnaires will be sent to various interested parties asking for information relating inter alia to the exports, production, sales and imports of solar modules and their key components. The examination of dumping would also include other factors that could also have contributed to the claims, though details were not provided.
The Commission said it would provide provisional findings in June, 2013, which could result in imposing provisional anti-dumping duties, normally for a 6-month period or continue the investigation without imposing provisional duties. The Commission could also terminate the investigation at that time.
However, there is also the issue of the ‘Union interest test,’ used in these cases, which means the Commission will examine whether the potential impact of penalties on Chinese imported PV products would be overall more costly to the Union economy than the benefit of the measures would be to the complainants.
This could lead to the imposition of anti-dumping measures for 5-years or simply the termination of the case outright.
The final findings will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union, before the 5th of December, 2013.