, BRUSSELS, Jun 4 – The European Commission was to bring forward to Tuesday its decision to impose anti-dumping levies on Chinese solar panel imports despite opposition from Germany and other European Union members fearful of a trade war.
Despite the fears in Berlin and 17 other EU nations, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht was to announce 24 hours earlier than previously expected the Commission’s decision to go ahead with provisional tariffs on the Chinese goods.
“An important decision on trade will be announced today,” said Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly, as an EU source familiar with the EU-China trade row said “a decision will be taken at 1400” (1200 GMT) followed by a press conference by De Gucht.
However the duties would in a first phase be lower than previously expected, at around 25 percent rather than 47 percent, said an EU source speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We will continue to negotiate with the Chinese but from now on with a loaded gun,” the source said.
“We will hold on to the possibility of increasing the rate up to an average 47 percent if the negotiations fail to progress.”
The tariffs to be announced will be provisional, lasting six months and allowing room for negotiation.
A final decision would come only in December, when EU member states would have to vote to make them permanent or not.
But the stakes are high, commercially and politically.