On May 27, after meeting with Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan in Brussels, European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said he was ready to negotiate an amicable solution over the issue of solar panels imported into Europe from China, even if his counterpart had not put forward any specific proposals.
The European Commission described the talks as informal and noted that they would transition to formal negotiations only if and when a decision is taken on provisional tariffs on Chinese solar panels by the legal deadline June 5.
Nevertheless, EU Trade spokesperson John Clancy says Commissioner De Gucht made it very clear to the vice minister that he was aware of the pressure being exerted by China on a number of EU member states related to the dispute, and stressed the importance of the European Commission in remaining independent in trade matters.
‘This is why it is so important in trade defense cases that it is the European Commission which has the role of deciding on provisional tariffs since the European Commission can maintain an independent position,’ Clancy says, adding that the organization must resist any external pressure for the benefit of Europe, its companies and workers based upon the evidence alone.
While many expect the tariffs to take effect after the June 5 deadline on a provisional basis, Clancy says a full investigation on the merits of Chinese dumping allegations will be concluded in early December.