The European Union will suspend the restrictions affecting the sales of solar panels from China. The European Commission, which coordinates EU trade policy, said the restrictions would be raised on Monday, 3 September, which, according to European producers, would result in a wave of cheap imports and would affect them negatively.

For the first time, the EU imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on Chinese solar panels and cells in 2013 and extended them by 18 months in March last year.

Chinese producers are allowed to sell solar products in Europe without customs duties if they do so on or above the gradually decreasing minimum price. If sold cheaper, they are subject to duties of up to 64.9 percent.

The Commission stated that it is in the EU’s interest to remove the restrictions taking into account the goals of the Union to increase the supply of renewable energy. The effects of the measures also decreased over time, allowing import prices to be easily aligned with prices on the world markets.

SolarPower Europe, which represents importers and installers, describes this move as a “turning point” for Europe’s solar industry and eliminates the biggest barrier to the growth of the sector.

A Chinese government spokesman said the country welcomed the EU’s decision to halt the restrictions. Addressing the issue comes as a result of the good dialog between the leaders of both sides and the general efforts of governments and the industry. This will restore normal market conditions between China and the EU in regard to trade with solar panels and provide a more stable and more predictable business environment for both to achieve a win-win scenario.

The European Union faces the delicate situation to balance the interests of EU producers, importers and installers, who are demanding a reduction in solar energy production costs.

The EU ProSun is representing EU producers, who filed a complaint against Chinese imports in 2012. They insist not only to alleviate the measures, but also to tighten up. According to the alliance, the facilitation of access to Chinese panels will be “devastating” for European producers.

In 1997 the EU set a goal which states that by 2010 the share of renewable energy sources, including solar panels, to reach 12 percent of energy consumption and 22.1 percent of electricity consumption, while setting indicative targets for each Member State. The lack of progress towards the 2010 goals has led to the adoption of a more comprehensive legislative framework in the area, as a result of the current solution for market liberalisation.