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EU members against punitive duties on Chinese solar panels

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-05-28 09:25

BRUSSELS - At least 14 of the European Union's 27 member states have voted against a European Commission proposal to impose punitive duties on imported Chinese solar panels, sources told Xinhua on Monday.

EU trade officials were arranging additional meetings or calls this week to reach out to at least three EU members that submitted written "no" positions Friday, said sources familiar with the case.

Only four members -- France, Spain, Italy and Lithuania -- have been believed to stand on the side of the European Commission while four others have abstained, the sources said.

The positions of two other countries remain unknown, the sources said.

"If taking into account the three or four countries who have very probably voted against the proposal, the number of the no-vote countries could rise to 17," the sources said.

The non-legally binding vote was unlikely to prevent the commission from issuing regulations to slap hefty 47-percent anti-dumping duties on Chinese products, the sources said.

"However, it does weaken its strategic position for the rest of the investigation and for possible settlement negotiations," a source said. "The commission might attempt in the next couple of days to encourage some EU member states to change their position."

The sources said a number of senior EU trade officials were surprised by the voting results, which would potentially weaken their position in seeking a negotiated solution to the high-profile trade dispute.

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