U.S., Europe ready to settle Chinese solar cases

  • Article by: KEITH BRADSHER New York Times
  • May 20, 2013 - 8:57 PM

– The Obama administration and the European Union have each decided to negotiate settlements with China in the world’s largest anti-dumping and anti-subsidy trade cases involving China’s roughly $30 billion a year in solar panel shipments to the West, officials and trade advisers in Beijing, Brussels and Washington said.

The plan that is starting to take shape would essentially carve up the global solar panel market into a series of regional markets. It would sharply raise the price of solar panels exported from China, the world’s dominant producer, by requiring Chinese companies to charge more while limiting the total number of solar panels they could ship.

In exchange, Chinese companies would no longer be charged steep taxes on their exports of solar panels. The United States is already collecting tariffs totaling about 30 percent while the European Union is expected to impose similar tariffs of about 50 percent on June 5, and may backdate them to March 5.

Massive shipments from China have driven solar panel prices down by three-quarters in the last four years.

The goal of the current tariffs, and of the price and quantity regulations that could replace them, is to protect American and European manufacturers from what they and the Obama administration describe as unfair competition. Western manufacturers and the administration say that Chinese solar panels are heavily subsidized by the Chinese government and then dumped in foreign markets at prices far below the cost of production.

Two dozen American and European solar panel manufacturers have already cut back production or gone bankrupt in the past three years, moves widely attributed to Chinese imports.

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