The European Commission has launched an investigation into its trade agreement with China that imposed a minimum import price (MIP) on PV modules and components.

The price is benchmarked against Bloomberg spot prices, which SolarWorld-led trade body EU ProSun has claimed is unsuitable.

Last week EU ProSun told PV Tech it planned to lodge a complaint. However, the focus of the complaint is not the existing trade tariffs but the functioning of the negotiated agreement between Chinese manufacturers and the Commission.

At the heart of the review request is the alleged rush of Chinese companies to register prices since the MIP was established. The Bloomberg index relies on module manufacturers reporting their prices. The increased diligence of Chinese firms to register sales prices with Bloomberg increased the weighting of Chinese firms in the index. With Chinese prices lower than their rivals’, the effect was a reduction in spot prices, and so in the MIP.

The most recent quarterly adjustment to the MIP saw currency fluctuations drag the price up for the first time.

On Tuesday the Commission published the decision to initiate the review in its official register. It has 15 months to conclude its investigation. The current trade duties were set to expire in seven months.

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