|EU commissioners backed a proposal to levy punitive duties on Chinese solar panel manufacturers on Wednesday, with many believing that the move will protect Europe's economic interests.
But the results could prove otherwise.
Anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese solar panels that will come into effect after the European Commission publishes the decision in its Official Journal, will range from 37 to 68 percent, according to media reports.
The EU's tariff proposal came after the 27-member bloc accused Chinese solar companies of selling panels below cost in Europe in an effort to gain market share, an accusation that has been rejected by Chinese solar panel makers.
A complaint was lodged by EU Pro Sun, an ad hoc association representing more than 20 European solar panel producers.
However, many of these companies have simply made mistakes in judging market trends.
When the global photovoltaic industry saw its golden days at the beginning of 2008, many European companies signed fixed-price supply contracts with Chinese solar panel exporters with terms as long as 10 years, fearing that they would have to endure high prices in the future.
But the European sovereign debt crisis led to sharp cuts in government subsidies for the solar energy sector in Europe and sent polycrystalline silicon prices down to 50 to 100 U.S. dollars per kg.
The EU's protectionism sends the wrong message to the business world, particularly at a time when Europe is still struggling.
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