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China investigated for EU solar panel activity

BRUSSELS, April 29 (UPI) -- China is accused of selling solar panel components to European consumers at prices below fair market value, the European Commission said.

The commission announced it opened an anti-subsidy investigation following a complaint from solar association EU ProSun Glass, which said solar glass from China is subsidized and then sold in the European Union at less than market prices.

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The solar glass market in the European Union is valued at about $260 million.

The commission has launched at least two investigations into alleged dumping of solar panel components like solar glass sold in the European Union by Chinese manufacturers. The European Commission said the latest investigation is its own distinct investigation.

The investigation is expected to take more than a year, "although under trade defense rules the EU could impose provisional anti-subsidy duties within nine months if it considers these necessary," the commission said.

China exported around $26 billion worth of solar power components to the eurozone in 2011. Chinese-manufactured solar products account for more than half of the global market and dominate Europe in terms of exports.

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