European Union Extends Levy of Countervailing Duty on Solar Glass Imports from China

The European Union (EU) has announced that the imposition of countervailing duty on solar glass imports from China will continue.

Countervailing duties are anti-subsidy duties levied on imports to balance out the negative effects of subsidies.

The individual countervailing duty on solar glass in the EU currently in force ranges from 3.2% to 17.1%. According to the latest decision, Xinyi Solar will have to pay the lowest duty at 3.2%. In comparison, Zhejiang Hehe Photovoltaic Glass Technology will have to pay the highest duty of 17.1%. A tariff of 12.8% has been set for Zhejiang Jiafu Glass, Flat Solar Glass Group, and Shanghai Flat Glass.

The new measures came in force on July 23, 2020. The Commission had initiated a review of the duties applicable to the import of solar glass.


Background

The European Commission had selected samples of Saint-Gobain Glassolutions Isolierglass-Center GmbH Interfloat and GMB Glasmanufaktur Brandenburg GmbH, accounting for more than 80% of the production of the solar glass in the Union. The aim was to analyze the effect of subsidies being given to the Chinese glass manufacturers and how it had impacted the solar industry in Europe.

The review investigation period covered the period from January 2018 to December 2018.

The Commission had earlier invited the Chinese counterpart for consultations to clarify the situation and arrive at a mutually agreed solution. China accepted the offer of consultations, which were subsequently held on May 10, 2019. During the consultations, no mutually agreed solution could be arrived at, and the Chinese government refused to cooperate further.

On May 26, 2020, the Commission disclosed the essential facts and considerations based on which it intended to maintain the countervailing duties in force.

The solar glass producers in the Union insisted that the Chinese solar glass producers continued to benefit from preferential lending and below-market interest rates from domestic banks in China.

The Commission noted that there is sufficient evidence that subsidization of the solar glass industry in China continued and is likely to continue in the future. The Commission also found that the repeal of the countervailing measures would harm the Union’s market.

The users argued that maintaining the measures on solar glass was not in line with the Commission’s goals regarding the use of clean energy. On the contrary, extending the measures on solar glass would have a consequence on solar module manufacturers. Furthermore, the module manufacturers said that while the Union market for solar module installations is expected to grow, the industry would be forced out of the market as it would not undertake new investments due to lack of solar glass supply. This step, in turn, would harm the industry.

Countries across the globe are coming up with protectionist policies to boost domestic manufacturing.

India’s Director-General of Trade Remedies has published a list of parties interested in its anti-subsidy investigation concerning the import of textured (tempered) glass from Malaysia.

Last year, the government imposed anti-dumping duty on the import of textured tempered coated and uncoated glass from Malaysia for five years.