Fabian Demicoli

Commission opens anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar glass originating in China


ATTN
Importers of Solar Glass from China – The
proportion of solar glass imports in Malta having Chinese origin has been on
the increase in the last years and it has reached a considerable percentage of
total imports. This issue is thus quite important not only for Maltese
importers because the price of the product might increase but for consumers
because if such prices increase, the products will become more expensive and
less affordable and the availability of such products on the market at
different prices will be limited.

 

On
28th February the European Commission launched an anti-dumping
investigation into imports of solar glass from China. The initiation is based
on a complaint lodged by the association EU ProSun Glass, which claims solar
glass from China is being dumped in the EU at prices below market value and
causing material injury to the EU solar glass industry. The investigation could
take up to 15 months, although under trade defense rules the EU could impose
provisional anti-dumping duties within nine months if it considers these
necessary.

Media
are also reporting about a possible anti-subsidy complaint regarding solar
glass from China but at this stage the European Commission only stated that
they have not received such a complaint.

What products are being investigated?

Solar
glass consists of tempered soda-lime-flat-glass, with an iron content of less
than 300 ppm, a solar transmittance of more than 88 % (measured according to
AM1,5 300-2 500 nm), a resistance to heat up to 250 °C (measured according to
EN 15150), a resistance to thermal shocks of Δ 150 K (measured according to EN
15150) and having a mechanical strength of 90 N/mm2 or more (measured according
to EN 1288-3).

Solar
glass is a special glass used mainly, but not exclusively, for the production
of solar panels. It is an essential component not just of solar panels, but of
many solar energy products. This investigation has, however, no direct link
with the probe related to the imports of solar panels launched by the European
Commission last September. This is a stand-alone investigation concerning a
clearly distinct product. The EU solar glass market is valued at less than
€200m.

On
what basis is the European Commission opening this investigation?

The
Commission is legally obliged to open an anti-dumping investigation when it
receives a duly substantiated complaint from EU producers which provides prima
facie evidence that exporting producers from one or more countries outside the
EU are dumping a product on to the EU market and causing material injury to the
EU industry. The Commission concluded that there was sufficient prima facie
evidence to warrant the opening of an investigation.

What happens next?

The
European Commission will send out questionnaires to various interested parties.
It will ask for information relating to the exports, production, sales and
imports of solar glass. Once the interested parties have responded to the
questionnaires, the Commission will verify the data, often by going to the
premises of the companies. On the basis of the information it has collected,
the Commission will establish if dumping has taken place.

In
addition, the Commission will carry out the so-called "Union interest
test". The Commission will consider whether the potential imposition of
measures would be more costly to the EU economy as a whole than the benefit of
the measures would be to the complainants. The Commission will assess the level
of duty needed to counteract the injurious effects of dumping. Measures, if
any, will be imposed at the level of dumping or injury whichever is the lower –
the so-called 'lesser duty rule.'

Within nine months of the start of the
investigation, the Commission will issue its provisional findings. There are
three possible scenarios:

impose provisional anti-dumping duties
(normally for a six months period);

continue the investigation without imposing
provisional duties; or

terminate the investigation.

Throughout
the investigation, all interested parties have a right to make their views and
arguments heard by sending in comments to the Commission and/or taking part in
hearings (;
).
The Commission takes account of the comments received and addresses these in
the remainder of the investigation.

The
Council is legally obliged to take a final decision on the imposition of any
definitive measures within 15 months of the investigation being started. In the
present case, that means before 28 May 2014.

Interested members are invited
to contact Abigail Mamo at GRTU in order to be kept informed of developments.

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