The European Commission initiated anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on imports from China of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules (Solar Panels) and key components. The anti-dumping investigation opened on 6 September 2012 and the anti-subsidy investigation commenced on 8 November 2012. These investigations followed a complaint from EU Producers. The Commission proposed the imposition of provisional duties and Member States were required to submit their opinion by 24 May 2013. Ireland voted against these measures as it was judged that they were not in the overall interest of the European Union and in order to facilitate discussions between China and the EU. On 27 May the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht met China’s Vice Minister for Commerce, Mr Zhong Shan, to discuss the solar panel investigations by the EU. The EU is prepared to enter into talks with China to find a negotiated solution to this matter. However any negotiations would only start if and when a decision is taken on the application of provisional tariffs. The legal deadline for this decision is 5 June.
On 15 May 2013, the European Commission announced that it had taken a decision in principle to open an ex officio investigation into imports of mobile telecoms networks from China. This decision will not be activated for the time being to allow for negotiations towards an amicable solution with the Chinese authorities. Commissioner De Gucht will revert to the College of Commissioners in due course on this matter. An ex-officio case involves an anti-dumping or anti-subsidy investigation initiated and undertaken by the EU Commission where it has not received a formal complaint from producers, for example, of unfair trading practices.