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Majority of 14 votes for China in EU trade spat
May 29, 2013, 3:50 pm

[Getty Images]

EU trade chief Karel De Gucht is working to negotiate a settlement with the Chinese government [Getty Images]

Fourteen out of 27 members of the EU have voted against a European Commission proposal to impose punitive duties on imported Chinese solar panels.

China’s CNTV has reported that only four members – France, Spain, Italy and Lithuania – are believed to be standing on the side of the European Commission.

Germany and the UK are notably among the nations that are against EU measures.

While the trade commissioner would still have the right to impose the duties, doing so in the face of member states opposition would be politically hard.

The duties, averaging 47 per cent, will come into force from June 6 for a trial period.

EU trade chief Karel De Gucht is working to negotiate a settlement with the Chinese government.

China is the EU’s second largest trading partner and Chinese companies produce roughly 65 per cent of the world’s photovoltaic panels.

A report from research firm Prognos, commissioned by a group of 180 solar panel installation and servicing companies known as the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE), says the tariffs would result in the lose of nearly a quarter million European jobs within three years.

The UK would be the hardest hit, the report says, losing up to $5.4 billion and at least 38,000 jobs in a three-year period.

With inputs from Agencies

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