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Aruba, September 7, 2012 - The European Union began on Thursday morning the world’s biggest anti-dumping investigation in terms of value, a broad inquiry into whether Chinese companies have been exporting solar power products for less than it costs to make them.
The case covers imports from China worth $26.5 billion last year, a hefty 6.5 percent of all European imports of Chinese goods.

After exerting heavy diplomatic pressure for the European Union not to start the case, and after veiled threats to retaliate, the initial Chinese response on Thursday was restrained.
Shen Danyang, the Commerce Ministry spokesman, said in a statement that China expressed “deep regret,” adding that the trade action would hurt not only industries in China and the European Union but also the global development of clean energy.

The scope of the European investigation is unusually broad, applying not only to fully assembled solar panels but also imports of key components like solar cells and solar wafers. If tariffs are applied, the breadth of the case would make it extremely difficult for Chinese companies from shipping the components to Europe and then assembling them into finished panels there.

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