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China, EU settle biggest-ever trade dispute

A container ship berths in Qingdao port, east China's Shandong province.
STR | AFP | Getty Images
A container ship berths in Qingdao port, east China's Shandong province.

The European Commission said on Saturday it had agreed a deal with Beijing to resolve a dispute over alleged Chinese dumping of solar panels in Europe, agreeing a minimum price for China's imports.

The deal to resolve the biggest trade dispute between China and the European Union will avoid punitive tariffs from August on Chinese solar imports into Europe that were worth 21 billion euros ($27 billion) last year.

"We found an amicable solution," EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a statement.

"I am satisfied with the offer of a price undertaking submitted by China's solar panel exporters," he said, referring to an agreement for a minimum price for China's imports.

Chinese solar panel production quadrupled between 2009 and 2011 to more than the entire global demand, and the Commission accused China of dumping its solar panels at below the cost of production in Europe.

The Commission, the EU executive, imposed low tariffs in June, which were due to jump to punitive levels on Aug. 6, but six weeks of talks appear to have resolved the row.

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