BRUSSELS - Global law firm Reed Smith’s Brussels trade team has successfully overturned the retroactive imposition of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties before the EU General Court for Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System Co. Ltd, a Chinese solar-panel maker.

Related Professionals: Yves Melin Bérengère Vigneron

Solar panels

The EU Judges ruled that the European Commission does not have the right to retroactively impose duties on past imports when it suspects or finds that a minimum price undertaking was breached. A price undertaking is a form of trade defence measures whereby the European Commission removes duties in exchange of an exporter’s commitment to sell above a minimum import price. This comes with many conditions and strings attached. 

Starting in 2016, the Commission has been ordering customs authorities in the EU to collect duties retroactively when it considered that those conditions had been breached. It is this new practice that the Reed Smith team successfully challenged.

The Reed Smith team advising on the matter was led by Brussels based trade and customs partner Yves Melin and associate Bérengère Vigneron.

Melin said: “We are delighted to have secured a significant result for our client, in what was a very difficult case. It is testament to the strength and depth of our team’s 20 years of experience in EU trade defence and customs investigations, and the firm’s newly established Brussels office.”