Module manufacturer ZN Shine has been formally removed from the minimum import price (MIP) undertaking agreed between China and the EU.
A document published by the European Commission confirms that the company was under investigation for transhipping modules via a third country, thought to be Japan but not named, in order to avoid trade duties and the limitations of the MIP. There were also question marks about some of the company's record keeping.
Claims by ZN Shine that discrepancies in the dates of export and import documentation were the result of a clerical error by inexperienced staff were dismissed but the commission.
ZN Shine becomes the fourth company to be removed from the MIP after Canadian Solar, ET Solar and ReneSola.
Meanwhile, Yingchun Wang, the general manager of the ZN Shine parent company in China, sold his shares in ZN Shine Europe on 29 July. The European company changed its name to Grand Solar GmbH earlier this year.
On 18 August, all the shares, included those held by its former European boss Qingke Xiang, were sold to a German national.
There is now no ownership link between Grand Solar, its former management or the parent company, ZN Shine PV-Tech Co. Ltd, which is now removed from the undertaking.
The document published by the commission also confirms that the findings against ZN Shine do not necessitate a closure of the MIP.
An “interested party”, most likely Solarworld or EU ProSun, called for retroactive measures to be taken against ZN Shine, including payment of all the duities relating to sales made under the MIP, stating that customs losses across all four removed companies were running into millions of euros. However, the commission said the third party failed to provide sufficient evidence of this retroactive measures were ruled unnecessary.
EU ProSun, the original complainant in the EU-China trade case, has until 7 September to request an expiry review. This would trigger a mandatory investigation period if accepted by the commission, which has until December this year to make a decision.
It is widely assumed that the MIP would continue during this period extending restrictions on Chinese imports into Europe well beyond their 7 December expiry.
Reviews into how the MIP is calculated and the possibility of extending limitations to Malaysia and Taiwan are already under way.