Deal emerges as trade war deadline looms

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The European Commission’s anti-dumping negotiators are said to be close to a deal with China before the August 6 duty deadline.

As previously reported, leaked information from negotiators in Beijing with Chinese officials are wanting to replace threatened high tariffs into the EU for Chinese manufactured PV modules with a minimum price per-watt floor, said to be in the range of €0.55/W.

PV Tech now understands that an even lower figure of €0.54 was being discussed on Wednesday with the possibility that it could fall even lower.

However, a cap on total capacity shipments and duration of the deal was said to be the continued sticking point in the talks. Apparently, the cap on shipments is being debated at around 60% of EU consumption rates, well below the claimed 80% figure of consumption Chinese module suppliers had before imports started to be registered for duties in March 2013.

The report also noted that the EC wanted a deal to be done two weeks before the August deadline but with that clearly gone a ‘freeze’ on imports could be implemented for a short time.

Press reports in China have claimed that 66 Chinese PV firms were promised that negotiators would not settle for a price higher than €0.57/W.

The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) made the promise in a letter dated 19 July. The Chinese negotiations team in the talks is composed of CCCME staff and a contingent from the Ministry of Commerce.

The commission has refused to provide any details on the status of the negotiations while they have been ongoing issuing a holding statement to press saying “both sides seek an amicable solution”.

Reuters has reported that Chinese negotiators flew home on Monday night and were happy to close-off the final details remotely.

Sun Guangbin, secretary general of Solar Energy & PV Products at the CCCME played down the prospects of an imminent conclusion to the talks.

“The two sides are still actively negotiating now. I have noticed the Reuters story; I think they do not really understand the situation of negotiations,” he told PV Tech.

“There is no specific timetable for the negotiations, so far it's difficult to determine the exact time of the conclusion, but I predict there is a growing possibility of the two sides reaching such cooperation.”

Additional reporting by Cathy Li and John Parnell

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