No price hike for domestic LPG cylinders: Pradhan
PTI | Jun 13, 2014, 02.42 PM IST
PTI | Jun 13, 2014, 02.42 PM IST
Only two months' stock left, new crop to arrive in October
With stocks to cover two months of consumption and a new crop delayed by at least a month, the onion crisis is likely to become acute in September.
The National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation estimates the onion inventory across the country at 2.4-2.5 million tonnes. India eats 1.2 million tonnes of onions a month and the current stock will last till the end of August.
The next onion crop is expected to be delayed by at least a month because of late sowing. Early kharif onion should begin arriving in mandis towards the end of September.
Though Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan claims the country has enough onions in stock, there will be a gap in supply for a month. Traders said onion prices would skyrocket in September.
"Our estimates suggest the onion inventory should be 2.4-2.5 million tonnes with farmers and stockists after accounting for spoilage, which is equivalent to two months of consumption," said R P Gupta, director of the Nashik-based National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation. "The problem will aggravate in September, when the existing stocks finish. The government should start importing," he added.
Atul Shah, director of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee at Pimpalgaon, said onion sowing was late by a month, leading to a month's delay in harvesting. Imposing stocking limits would improve supply and correct prices for a while, but the real crisis would be in September, he added.
The Centre on Wednesday brought onions and potatoes under the Essential Commodities Act, which imposes stocking limits and permits action against hoarders. The Centre has asked major onion-producing states to prescribe holding limits. Wednesday's announcement had an impact on prices. While the price fell seven per cent to Rs 1,875 a quintal in Maharashtra's Lasalgaon mandi, Asia's largest onion market yard, the price in Kolkata shot up by 3.26 per cent to Rs 2,375 a quintal. In Delhi, the price of onion moved up to Rs 1,988 a quintal on Thursday from Rs 1,950 the previous day.
The Centre's threat of action against hoarders had no impact as arrivals in the Lasalgaon mandi fell to 1,050 tonnes on Thursday from 1,225 tonnes the previous day.
Traders in Lasalgaon were disappointed with the government's decision to bring onion and potato under the Essential Commodities Act. "The government does not protect farmers when onions are sold at Rs 1-2 a kg during the peak harvesting season. There is a hue and cry when farmers get a few rupees extra in a shortage," said Sanjay Sanap, a trader in Lasalgaon.
...and I am Sid Harth
Higher payment to 3 directors turned down; talent retention also key, says firm
In a rare case of investor activism on managerial remuneration, shareholders of Tata Motors, India's biggest automotive maker, rejected compensation payment in excess of prescribed limits to three directors.
The company did not get the required 75 per cent votes in a postal ballot to compensate Executive Director (commercial vehicles) Ravindra Pisharody, Executive Director (quality) Satish Borwankar and the legal heir of former managing director Karl Slym (who died in January) in excess of the limits for the year ended March.
The law mandates shareholder approval if the total amount to be paid by a company to its whole-time directors exceeds five per cent of its net income. Tata Motors had to seek stakeholders' approval for the remuneration because of "inadequacy of profits".
Nearly 30 per cent of the votes were cast against the resolution. A little more than 64 per cent of the financial institutions, which hold a 37 per cent stake in the company, voted against the resolution.
Proxy advisory firm Stakeholders Empowerment Services (SES) had said in its note to stakeholders: "The minimum remuneration includes performance-based incentives, in addition to basic salary, benefits, perquisites and allowances, without setting maximum limit on them." Shareholders should note the remuneration paid to the directors for 2013-14 included bonuses/commissions. In view of the company's weak performance during the year, the directors/executives of the company should not receive any profit/performance-based incentives, it had added.
The Mumbai-based automobile firm posted a standalone loss of Rs 817 crore in the quarter ended March. Its loss widened 161 per cent from Rs 312 crore in the same quarter last year.
Last updated: July 4, 2014 12:05 am
By Richard Waters in San Francisco
The fallout from Facebook’s manipulation of its users’ emotions during a 2011 psychological research project spread further on Thursday, as a consumer privacy group filed a formal complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission.
It also emerged that at the time of the project, the company’s researchers were free to launch studies involving its hundreds of millions of users without first consulting in-house experts in areas like privacy, security and legal and policy issues.
The internal controls have since been tightened and research projects have needed to be cleared by people in all these fields since earlier this year, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The study, in which users were shown a higher proportion of either positive or negative posts to see what impact it would have on their own behaviour on the social network, has provoked a visceral reaction among many users.
The researcher involved has apologised, though Facebook has not conceded that the research was a mistake or that its internal controls were inadequate. “Our research is designed to understand how people use Facebook and how we can make our services better for them,” a spokesperson said.
In a TV interview this week, Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, brushed it off as “a one-week, small experiment” that had been “poorly communicated”. She went on to say that Facebook would never try to manipulate users, for instance to influence the outcome of a political election.
The company’s policy did not explicitly disclose that it used personal data in research studies, with Facebook only adding this to the document four months after the 2011 project, the EPIC said. Before that, the company had said that it used data “in connection with the services and features we provide”, without specifying research.
The privacy group also accused the company of giving private information about its users to people outside the company without first getting explicit consent.
An earlier EPIC complaint led to a 2012 settlement with US regulators under which Facebook agreed to closer regulatory oversight by the FTC, including a 20-year period in which its privacy practices would receive an outside audit.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
© The Financial Times Ltd 2014
...and I am Sid Harth
Transaction taxes on stocks and non-agro commodity trading are unlikely to be lowered in the Budget. If it happens, this will disappoint both the stock market and the commodity market. The stock market and its regulator SEBI wants Securities Transaction Tax to be lowered, while the commodity futures market and its regulator FMC appealed for complete removal or lowering of Commodity Transaction Tax.
However, considering the revenue constraints, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may not oblige the exchanges. In the interim Budget, collection through STT in 2014-15 was estimated at ₹5,992 crore against collection of little over ₹5,000 crore in 2013-14.
There is no estimate available for Commodity Transaction Tax separately, which was introduced on non-agri commodities last July.
It is reasonable to expect that Arun Jaitley’s first Budget will provide substantial support for the creation of smart cities and other modern urban infrastructure. In addition to the assorted pronouncements of the urban development minister, such a thrust would also be consistent with the high technology image the Prime Minister sported during his campaign.
What is less evident as of now is how the Government plans to pay for any massive investment in urban infrastructure. And the choice of specific methods to finance urban development would determine not just the type of urbanisation that emerges, but also the success of this initiative.
The Government typically faces three broad options in planning its resources for urban development: it could use State finances; it could invite private investment; or it could get the user to pay.
Each of these options has its limitations. The use of public funds involves placing the burden on the entire population. The poor may not pay direct taxes but there is a tax element in virtually every commodity they consume. While the burden on the poor may appear small in absolute terms, it can still be very significant relative to their low incomes.
And with a substantial majority of the population still living in rural areas, the case to get them to pay even a small part of the urban development bill would be unfair.
The better option?
Inviting private investment looks to be an attractive option on paper. It suggests that the Government is achieving its objective of developing infrastructure without having to foot the bill. But the costs of attracting private investment, both stated and hidden, could be quite substantial.
Infrastructure projects have a long gestation period and they do not often pay for themselves. This viability gap has sometimes been bridged by financial support from governments at both the Centre and the states. And the hidden costs could be even higher.
In their eagerness to attract foreign investment, infrastructure projects are often provided more land than they require, thereby adding a real estate dimension to the deal.
Private investors, both Indian and foreign, tend to present any hesitation on the part of the Government to accept unreasonable demands as a sign of policy paralysis. As a result, there is an upward pressure on hidden costs.
When the user must pay
The very nature of private investment also ensures a greater reliance on the third option, that of getting the user to pay. And in the general mood of liberalisation this principle is being used in most Indian cities for public sector infrastructure as well.
At the level of individuals this would appear to be entirely reasonable — those who use infrastructure should be willing to pay for it.
But at the macro level the emphasis on world class infrastructure can substantially increase user charges. This raises the cost of living and this in turn generates an upward pressure on wages and salaries.
The effects of higher wages will be felt most in low margin and low wage industries, like readymade garments. A sustained growth in lower-end wages, spurred by higher costs of living, could see Indian cities losing out to global competitors in low wage industries — a process that may have already begun.
The higher-end industries may not also be immune to higher costs of infrastructure. If Indian cities are to continue with their focus on world class infrastructure they must be reasonably certain that this infrastructure will lead to the setting up of industries that can compete with the products and services coming out of the global cities that can afford this infrastructure.
If the Indian IT industry, for instance, is to lay claim to infrastructure comparable to that available in the United States, they must come up with products that can compete with those of Microsoft and Apple. If they do not, their rising infrastructure costs will, sooner rather than later, make them less competitive in the lower end of IT activity.
The Budget could provide some indication of official thinking on the issue of infrastructure costs. If the concept of smart cities is interpreted to mean an intelligent approach to cities, we would see differentiation between cities catering to different economic goals.
At one end there would be cities with low-cost but effective infrastructure that would enable industries to compete in the low wage markets of the global economy. At the other end we would see cities with high-cost infrastructure where the higher bill is easily absorbed by industries competing with the most successful players in the world.
If, instead, smart cities are taken to mean the even spread of expensive high technology, we are only likely to see higher costs dragging India further down the ladder of global competitiveness.
(The writer is a professor at the School of Social Science, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore)
Terrorists are plotting to use new stealth bombs in laptops and even humans to bring down a US-bound passenger plane, it is feared.
Airport security was increased across the UK, US and other countries amid fears al-Qaeda bomb experts have successfully designed a new explosive that can bypass current checks.
They are believed to be targeting the thousands of Western jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq as would-be suicide bombers.
The threat, which originated from US intelligence, had an immediate impact at British airports where passengers were subjected to more stringent and rigorous security checks.
It raises the prospect of a summer of delays and chaos for holidaymakers with long queues at airports.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said the safety of passengers “must come first” while Nick Clegg, the Deputy PM, warned travellers the new checks would be a permanent feature.
Changes to security measures were announced after Washington homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson ordered beefed-up security at foreign airports which have direct flights to the US.
There are concerns that al-Qaeda terrorists in Yemen, known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and specifically its master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, have linked up with the Jabhat Al-Nusra jihadists in Syria and passed on bomb making skills.
It is feared a new type of explosive has been developed that will not be picked up under normal checks.
It remains unclear whether that could be deployed in an electronic item such as a laptop, a liquid based explosive soaked on clothing or even surgically implanted in a bomber.
All such techniques have been tried by Asiri in the past.
At Heathrow, passengers were being asked to turn on laptops, mobile phones and other electronics as they passed through security.
Staff were also swabbing all electronic items, clothing and shoes to check for traces of explosives.
Shoes and belts had to be removed and travellers were subject to “vigorous" physical searches, according to one passenger.
Mr Cameron said: "We take these decisions looking at the evidence in front of us and working with our partners.
"This is something we've discussed with the Americans and what we have done is put in place some extra precautions and extra checks.
"The safety of the travelling public must come first. We mustn't take any risks with that.
"I hope this won't lead to unnecessary delays but it's very important that we always put safety first, and we do."
A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We have taken the decision to step up some of our aviation security measures. For obvious reasons, we will not be commenting in detail on those changes.
"The majority of passengers should not experience significant disruption."
But Mr Clegg said that the new checks were unlikely to be "a one-off, temporary thing".
"This is the world we now live in," he said on his weekly LBC radio phone-in.
"I don't want people to think that this is some sort of blip for a week. This is part of an evolving and constant review about whether the checks in our airports – and indeed other places of entry and exits from countries – keep up with what we know from intelligence and other sources about the nature of the threats we face."
The threat centres on the thousands of Western jihadists, including hundreds of Britons, who are fighting in Syria and Iraq.
It is feared they will be taught bomb-making skills by Asiri and AQAP and then sent back to target planes.
Asiri was the mastermind behind an underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jet over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 and a more sophisticated version which was intercepted in a CIA sting operation three years later.
He also designed the powerful bomb hidden in printer ink cartridges which was intercepted at a UK airport en route to the US in 2010, where it was timed to detonate over the east coast.
Downing Street said there was an "evolving threat" and people should continue to fly but allow "appropriate time" to go through security.
American journalist Lisa Simeone, 57, said security staff at Heathrow were carrying out "vigorous" physical searches which she likened to assault, as well as extra tests for explosives.
The airport security blogger said men and women manning the scanners had adopted "invasive" methods akin to those in the US.
Speaking airside at the airport, Ms Simeone said there was a clear change in the tactics.
She said: "I saw one woman, she was white, being really badly treated. She was patted down twice and nearly lost her balance they were being so vigorous with her.
"There was also a lot of swabbing going on, people's belongings, their clothes and shoes, they even swabbed a baby's pushchair. It was so unnecessary.
"People were being checked for iPhones and things like that, but the biggest difference was in the physical checking of people's bodies."
British aviation security expert Philip Baum said heightened security would mean longer queues and increased waiting times to board flights at UK airports.
"It will mean an increase in the number of random searches, secondary searches and an increase in the number of passengers asked to remove shoes and possibly all passengers being asked to remove shoes if they’re going on certain flights," he said.
"It stands to reason that if we’re going to spend longer doing checks, people are going to have to spend longer waiting in line to board flights."
© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2014
...and I am Sid Harth
Liberty Global PLC
Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB (AMXL) plans to buy the rest of Royal KPN NV (KPN) for about 7.2 billion euros ($9.6 billion), a move that may threaten an agreement by the Dutch carrier to sell its German business to Telefonica SA. (TEF)
America Movil will bid 2.40 euros a share in cash for the 70 percent in KPN that it doesn’t own, the Mexico City-based company said today. That’s 20 percent more than yesterday’s close. KPN rose 16 percent to 2.32 euros at 11:20 a.m. in Amsterdam. The offer, to be made official next month, is subject to America Movil winning a stake of more than 50 percent.
The twist came weeks after KPN agreed to sell its largest business, E-Plus, to Spain’s Telefonica -- Slim’s biggest rival in Latin America -- to create Germany’s largest wireless carrier by customers. America Movil said today it hasn’t decided whether it supports the 8.1 billion-euro transaction. The sale requires approval from shareholders of KPN, which said today it plans to convene a meeting “in the coming weeks.”
“This move, and the fact that Slim hasn’t made a decision over Telefonica’s bid for E-Plus, suggests that the billionaire will seek a sweetened offer from the Spanish company,” said Andres Bolumburu, an analyst at Banco de Sabadell. “Telefonica’s offer for E-Plus is already high and I don’t see any other company being able to bid for the company.”
Under the July 23 agreement, KPN would get 5 billion euros in cash and a 17.6 percent in the entity created from the combination of E-Plus and Telefonica Deutschland Holding AG, the Spanish carrier’s unit operating under the O2 brand. The enlarged German operator would surpass Deutsche Telekom AG and Vodafone Group Plc by customer counts.
The transaction requires antitrust approval because it would cut the number of network operators in Germany to three from four.
Slim, seeking to play a bigger role in Europe as the region’s telecommunications market consolidates, is pouring more money into an investment he has so far made losses on. America Movil spent about $4 billion increasing its stake in KPN last year, after bidding 8 euros a share. Shares in Telekom Austria AG (TKA) have also slumped since America Movil acquired a stake last year.
A spokeswoman at Madrid-based Telefonica didn’t immediately have a comment. Stefan Simons, a spokesman at KPN, said the company took notice of America Movil’s statement and will study the proposed offer.
KPN’s gains today erased the stock’s losses this year. America Movil rose 1.6 percent to 14.09 pesos in Mexico City yesterday. The stock is down 5.4 percent this year, giving the company a market value of $80 billion. Telekom Austria jumped as much as 9.9 percent in Vienna today.
America Movil said it had informed KPN representatives of the offer and is seeking to meet with the board to discuss cooperation. It will make the official bid in September, once an offer memorandum has been approved by Dutch financial-markets authorities.
To buy KPN outright, America Movil would need to cancel a share buyback and obtain $4 billion of debt financing, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analysts said in a note last month.
America Movil may also need to deal with another hurdle. An independent foundation has the responsibility for defending KPN “from influences that may threaten the continuity, independence and identity” of the company, according to KPN’s filings. If the foundation’s board sees a threat, it may invoke an option to acquire from KPN Class B preference stock, which carries voting rights.
Peter Wakkie, a member of the foundation’s board, said in an e-mail that he didn’t want to comment on the latest developments.
Deutsche Bank AG advised America Movil last year on the KPN stake purchase. KPN at the time said it hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to evaluate options. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are also among KPN’s advisers in the E-Plus sale.
The Netherlands is emerging as one center of dealmaking activity as intensifying competition and slowing sales in Europe’s telecommunications industry is leading to consolidation. John Malone’s Liberty Global Plc (LBTYA:US) said last month it raised its stake in cable-television operator Ziggo NV (ZIGGO), a KPN rival to 28.5 percent, which it said was for strategic reasons.
Globally, telecommunications merger and acquisition transactions valued at about $63 billion have been announced this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The average premium has been about 27 percent.
Slim’s company said the deal is aimed at intensifying the “synergy potential” with KPN. America Movil aims to support KPN’s plans in “a rapidly changing environment in Europe,” the company said.
America Movil had 262 million subscribers at the end of the second quarter, with the company offering more discounts on smartphones and calling plans to keep competitors from switching to Grupo Iusacell SA in Mexico, Tim Participacoes SA in Brazil and Telefonica in both countries. Last month, the company reported a 2.1 percent drop in second-quarter profit, as sales rose 1.6 percent.
To contact the reporters on this story: Manuel Baigorri in Madrid at email@example.com; Crayton Harrison in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at email@example.com
©2013 Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved. Made in NYC
...and I am Sid Harth
Apple has lost its status as the world's most profitable maker of mobile phones, with strong demand for Samsung's Galaxy handsets pushing the South Korean multinational into the financial lead for the first time.
The California company made an estimated $3.2bn (£2.1bn) profit from iPhone sales in the second quarter of the year, according to the research firm Strategy Analytics, a marked drop from $4.6bn a year ago and less than Samsung's estimated $5.2bn haul from both its basic models and smartphones in the same period.
While the high-priced iPhone was the engine that propelled Apple to become the world's most valuable company, its customers are no longer bent on owning the latest model.
Healthy demand for the three-year-old iPhone 4, which is cheaper than the latest iPhone 5, has reduced the average selling price of its blockbuster device.
As smartphone ownership trickles down the income brackets in both western and emerging markets, Apple's margins have taken a hit. The company's latest financial results showed that the average selling price of an iPhone has fallen to $581, down from $613 in the first quarter.
The same trend has squeezed Samsung's handset profits, which are down from an estimated $5.6bn in the second quarter of 2012, but the strong performance of its flagship Galaxy S4 has, at least for now, put an end to Apple's four-year reign as the world's most profitable phone-maker.
"With strong volumes, high wholesale prices and tight cost controls, Samsung has finally succeeded in becoming the handset industry's largest and most profitable vendor," said Neil Mawston at Strategy Analytics.
"Apple is now under intense pressure to launch more iPhone models at cheaper price-points or with larger screens to fend off the surging competition and recapture lost profits in the second half of 2013."
Rather than producing new budget phones, Apple has relied on sales of its older models to reach more cost-conscious shoppers. But a change of strategy is rumoured: the chief executive, Tim Cook, is said to be considering a brand-new budget iPhone as part of a revamp of the company's product range planned for this autumn.
Across all brands around the world, the average price of a smartphone has plunged to $375 from $450 since the beginning of 2012, the research firm IDC estimates. With mobile phone networks cutting subsidies on handsets in the depressed economies of southern Europe, cheaper models by companies including LG and Sony are proving popular.
The trend has helped Samsung widen its lead over Apple in the overall volume of handsets sold.
Apple's global smartphone market share has fallen from 17% to 14%, its lowest level for three years, while Samsung's edged up to 33%, Strategy Analytics' research shows. Samsung sold 76m smartphones in the quarter to June, more than twice Apple's 31m iPhones, and up from 49m in the same period a year ago. LG, ZTE and Huawei have all roughly doubled their worldwide shipments by unit.
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
...and I am Sid Harth
European Union and Chinese negotiators reached an agreement to curb EU imports of solar panels from China in exchange for exempting the shipments from punitive tariffs.
The accord would set a minimum price for imports of the renewable-energy technology from China. In return, Chinese manufacturers would be spared EU levies meant to counter below-cost sales, a practice known as dumping. The EU import taxes target more than 100 Chinese companies including Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., Wuxi Suntech Power Co. and Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co.
“We found an amicable solution in the EU-China solar-panels case that will lead to a new market equilibrium at sustainable prices,” European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a statement yesterday in Brussels. He didn’t disclose China’s minimum-price offer, which must be accepted by the full European Commission, or indicate whether the accord includes a limit on the volume of imports from China.
The goal is to limit Chinese competition against European manufacturers such as Solarworld AG (SWV) in the EU’s largest commercial dispute of its kind, without resorting to anti-dumping duties. The case covers EU imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules or panels, and cells and wafers used in them -- shipments valued at 21 billion euros ($28 billion) in 2011.
The pledged price will allow Chinese companies to continue exports to the EU and “keep reasonable market share,” according to a statement yesterday on the website of the China New Energy Chamber of Commerce, which advises both the government and companies.
In early June, the commission announced provisional anti-dumping duties as high as 67.9 percent on Chinese solar panels. The commission, the EU’s Brussels-based executive arm, decided to apply an initial lower rate of 11.8 percent for two months to encourage the government in Beijing to negotiate a solution. As of Aug. 6, unless the accord goes ahead, the provisional levies will range from 37.3 percent to 67.9 percent, depending on the Chinese company.
“After weeks of intensive talks, I am satisfied with the offer of a price undertaking submitted by China’s solar-panel exporters,” De Gucht said. “We are confident that this price undertaking will stabilize the European solar-panel market and will remove the injury that the dumping practices have caused to the European industry.”
The commission said that it can’t give further details on the price undertaking until it has formally approved the agreement.
The accord would fix a minimum price of 56 euro cents a watt for annual imports from China of as much as 7 gigawatts, said a trade official in Europe who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information hasn’t been publicly announced yet.
The pact would cover around 90 Chinese exporters that have about 60 percent of the EU solar-panel market, according to the official.
The case highlights EU concerns about the expansion of Chinese solar companies, which have grabbed market share from European rivals that were once dominant, and underpins a broader crackdown by Europe on perceived unfair low pricing by China’s exporters.
“Reaching a consensus is positive and has a quite good outcome”, Lian Rui, an analyst at NPD Solarbuzz in Beijing said today by phone. “The price is more beneficial for Chinese solar-component manufacturers than higher duties.”
EU ProSun, which represents around 40 European solar-panel producers including Solarworld of Germany, called the deal unacceptable and vowed to file a lawsuit.
The group said the agreed minimum price matches that at which Chinese exporters are selling solar panels in the EU and the volume cap represents about 70 percent of the “expected” solar market.
“This is essentially a guarantee of sales at that level and more for China and an authorization to sell at dumped prices,” Milan Nitzschke, president of EU ProSun, said in an e-mailed statement. “That is a clear violation of EU trade law.”
In Europe, which accounts for about three-quarters of the global photovoltaic market, more than two dozen manufacturers have sought protection from creditors since 2010 and many have shifted production to lower-cost plants in Asia. Germany’s Q-Cells SE, which was acquired last year by South Korea’s Hanwha Group, has its largest factory in Malaysia.
Chinese exporters increased their combined share of the EU modules market to 80 percent in the 12 months through June 2012 from 63 percent in 2009, the commission said in June, when introducing the provisional anti-dumping duties. The Chinese industry expanded its share of the bloc’s cells market to 25 percent from 8 percent and of Europe’s wafers market to 33 percent from 6 percent over the period, according to the commission.
The duties were the preliminary outcome of a dumping inquiry that the commission opened in September last year and that German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in May shouldn’t lead to permanent levies against China. EU governments, acting on a commission proposal, have until Dec. 6 to decide whether to accept the draft agreement as a definitive measure. Such arrangements usually last for a period of five years.
The EU is also threatening to impose a separate set of duties on Chinese solar panels to counter alleged subsidies. That’s the focus of a second investigation in which the deadline for introducing any provisional anti-subsidy duties is Aug. 8 and for imposing any definitive measures is early December.