The EU says it plans to slap anti-dumping tariffs on imports of Chinese solar panels from Thursday.
Brussels accuses China of selling them below-cost to take market share.
The EU trade commissioner said that levies will start at nearly 12 percent, potentially rising to 47 percent from August if there is no deal by that time.
“Today’s provisional measures aim to prevent this spillage onto our markets and recreate a level playing field and fair competition once again,” said Karel de Gucht.
Fifteen member states, including the UK and Germany, are opposed. Italy and France join 12 others in favour.
Hosuk Lee-Makiyama of the European Centre for International Political Economy said that the tariffs could only ever be a short-term fix.
“Whatever jobs we save by taking these kind of measures, we actually will lose more by losing export opportunities, free competition and not to forget the consumer interest in this,” he told euronews.
Euronews’ correspondent in Brussels Isabel Marques da Silva said: “The new tariffs are provisional, so both sides can go on negotiating an agreement until December. If they do not reach it by then, the tariffs will become definitive for the next five years, although the implementation will be decided by the EU member states”.