The main protagonist behind the European Commission’s investigation into the dumping of Chinese-manufactured solar products in Europe, EU ProSun, has initiated legal proceedings over the recent trade agreement.

The coalition of European PV manufacturers filed a lawsuit in Luxemburg against the proposed measures agreed under the terms of the agreement on Monday. The group believes that the reported minimum import price and market cap violates the Basic Anti-dumping Regulation, Regulation 1225/2009 – which states that a suspension of anti-dumping duties through a price undertaking is permitted only if the minimum price is adequate to remove the injury caused by the dumping to the European industry.

Milan Nitzschke, president of EU ProSun commented: “This is essentially a guarantee of sales at that level and more for China and an authorization to sell at dumped prices. That is a clear violation of EU trade law.”

He added: “In these negotiations, the EU Commission obviously acted against their overall mission and did not represent the interests of the European industry. It appears rather that there was only a desire to bring the proceedings to a quick end. Throughout the negotiations, China appears to have blackmailed and mocked the EU.”

EU ProSun also believes that the decision to phase in duties through June to August also violated anti-dumping legislation.

Nitzschke concluded: “We are fighting for our rights and for maintaining the high-tech photovoltaic industry in Europe. It is not our intention to block negotiations. But even the biggest EU trade conflict ever must still be resolved on the basis of the applicable law. If the European Commission now itself breaks European law, it damages the whole of the EU trade defence instruments and leaves European industry an easy prey for illegal trading practices by foreign manufacturers.

“The damage done by DG Trade in this case, led by its director general, is immense and goes far beyond the solar industry. From steel production to the automobile industry, no one can be certain to be able to obtain redress against even the most flagrantly illegal subsidised dumping by producers from third countries. For Europe's industrial base, this would be devastating.”

In a press conference this morning, EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht was dismissive of ProSun's threats, maintaining that although the group was within it rights to pursue legal action, he did not think the organisation had a case.