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Antidumping duty on solar modules from China - facts for importers in the EU

Antidumping duties are to be paid for photovoltaic modules of crystalline silicon and their key elements since 2013. Many companies are affected by these antidumping measures for solar modules. Often they are faced with supplementary payments endangering their economic basis or with penalty or even criminal proceedings.

Since the introduction of antidumping duties on solar modules in the year 2013 we have been advising enterprises in this connection. Should you have questions in this regard, please contact us or call +49 40 3696 150.

Solar panels, for which antidumping duties have to be paid

The introduced antidumping duty in principle is relevant for all those solar panels which have their origin – in the sense of the customs regulations – in China. In particular the CN codes ex 3818 00 10 and ex 8541 40 90 are concerned.

In the meantime the antidumping duties on solar panels were also extended to solar glass. This causes problems, in particular for enterprises in the furniture industry, who are importing glass with the same technical characteristics that, however, cannot be used for solar panels. At present antidumping duties also have to be paid in this connection. 

Tax exemption for antidumping duties

After the press believed in a commercial war between the EU and China, the Commission changed its mind and made amendments to the Regulation. Goods from Chinese enterprises, that submitted an undertaking, have been exempted from antidumping duties for some time past. But not all solar panels with origin in China, therefore, are released from duties. Only panels from enterprises named in the Annex to the Decision 2013/423/EU (AB1 L 209 of 3 August 2013, p. 26) are exempted from antidumping taxes.

Moreover, a lot of additional formal requirements have to be observed in this regard. Infringements lead to a customs debt, should the goods enter the unrestricted market.

  • The goods have to be produced, dispatched and invoiced by the company named in the Supplement,
  • An „undertaking invoice“ has to be presented. This invoice has to be issued according to a commercial invoice and must comply with the provisions of Annex II of the Decision.
  • An export obligation certificate according to Annex III has to be submitted.
  • Customs declaration and undertaking invoice have to correspond with one another.

So, the importer is bearing a considerable risk and must rely on the fact that the exporter of  the solar panels has fulfilled his obligations in China. It is also possible that the privilege for the relevant company is withdrawn with the effect that customs benefits are cancelled, which in particular is the case if the exporting company is not reliable.

Therefore, importers of Chinese solar panels should adjust in particular their contracts for delivery accordingly.

Documents needed to obtain an exemption from antidumping duties

Problems arose in the past, because enterprises submitted the documents required to obtain an exemption from antidumping duties or other duties relevant for their company in an incorrect way, too late or not at all. Experience shows that the customs authorities then often refuse the recognition. For more information on this problem please read here.

Avoidance of antidumping tax

In our daily work we often get into contact with companies who are trying to avoid/evade antidumping tax.

Sometimes however, innocent companies also come into the focus of the criminal investigators of the authorities, when the customs are supposing a cover-up. In this case the antidumping duties on the solar panels often are assessed subsequently.

Should you have any questions on antidumping and solar panels, then do not hesitate to contact us directly. We are pleased to be of assistance.
Rechtsanwalt Dr. Tristan Wegner

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