On July 27, the European Commission reached an “amicable solution” with Beijing on imports of Chinese solar panels. The two parties agreed on a minimum price, which, according to diplomatic sources, will come to 56 eurocents per watt generated.
According to European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, the object of the deal is to do away with dumping prices, which damage European manufacturers, and ensure a steady supply of solar panels for the EU market. The clash between the EU and China over solar panels was threatening to turn into a trade war.
Over in Germany, the country most vehemently opposed to anti-dumping tariffs, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung argues that this agreement has “the merit of ending the dispute between Brussels and Beijing”, albeit without resolving the lingering issues between China and Europe –
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The fact is that the compromise puts an end to the uncertainty that has been looming over the whole solar industry. It’s also a fact, however, that the prices that have now been fixed have nothing to do with the market economy. But that’s how it is with compromises and half-baked solutions: the profiteers suffer and the suffering profit.
For the French daily Libération, on the other hand, “Europe is walking straight into the Chinese panel-trap” –
So there will still be dumping [since 56 eurocents would be close to the current prices charged by Chinese suppliers], even if the Chinese have already done worse, selling their modules at 38 eurocents a watt. Especially if this price is to be applied to the first 7 gigawatts of imported panels [...]. 7 GW is half of Europe’s consumption, which came to 15 GW in 2012! [...] So if it were to be approved on these terms, the deal would be very generous to Beijing.
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