The European Union announced that the block’s regulators started investigating the solar power panel industry in China in response to allegations that Chinese firms were avoiding import duties by exporting via Taiwan and Malaysia. The Commission initiated the probe after complaints of some European companies. “The Commission has concluded that sufficient evidence exists to justify the initiation of an investigation,” the Commission commented in the European Union’s official journal. The probe is expected to trigger another upheaval in the trade relations between China and the EU. If Beijing was found guilty, Brussels could introduce heavy anti-dumping duties on Chinese products imported to Europe.
According to ProSun, the EU top lobby and a vivid critic of the Chinese solar panel industry, Beijing exports solar modules via Malaysia and Taiwan, labels them as locally made and thus avoids EU levies. Milan Nitzschke, President of the lobby, says that “such circumvention is customs fraud and must be stopped”. ProSun generally thinks that Europe’s solar panel sector has mostly been destroyed by the Chinese.
The EU and China agreed on a new minimum price scheme for solar panel imports from China in 2013 after long talks involving reprisals and punitive levies on solar panels. This, however, does not apply to all Chinese firms and European companies have complained a number of times over reported breaches of the deal, which expires at the end of this year. The EU Commission, the primary EU institution in charge of the competition law, started the investigation on reported Chinese dumping of solar glass already in December last year.