The European Commission (EC) began its anti-subsidy investigation into imports of solar glass from China last week. The initiation is based on a complaint lodged by the association EU ProSun Glass, which claims solar glass from China is being subsidized in China and then sold in the European Union (EU) at prices below market value and causing material injury to the EU solar glass industry. The EC began a related anti-dumping investigation in February.

The anti-subsidy investigation could take up to 13 months, although under trade defense rules the EU could impose provisional anti-subsidy duties within nine months if it considers these necessary, according to a report from the EC.

According to the EC, it is legally obliged to open an anti-subsidy 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 subsidizing a product which is then sold on to the EU market and causing material injury to the EU industry.”

In this case, EU ProSun Glass, an ad hoc association representing European solar glass manufacturers, filed an anti-subsidy complaint on March 14, claiming that the Chinese exporting producers of solar glass have benefited from a number of subsidies granted by the Government of China.

The Commission found that the complainant brought sufficient elements showing:

  1. Possible subsidies benefiting the exporting producers in China;
  2. Injury suffered by the Union industry; and
  3. A possible causal link between the subsidized imports and the injury suffered by the industry in the EU.

The EC now will send out questionnaires to various interested parties, such as exporting producers, EU producers, importers and associations asking for information relating to the exports, production, sales and imports of solar glass. Once the interested parties have responded to the questionnaires, the EC will verify the data provided.

The EC will then utilize this information to determine if subsidization has taken place and whether the injury claimed is a result of the subsidized imports.

Within nine months of the start of the investigation, the EC will issue its provisional findings. There are three possible scenarios, according to information from the EC. The EC will:

  1. Impose provisional anti-subsidy duties (normally for a four-month period);
  2. Continue the investigation without imposing provisional duties; or
  3. Terminate the investigation.

The EC will make a final decision within 13 months of the investigation being started—sometime before May 26, 2014.