* Deal to be published Saturday, take effect from Aug. 6
* Any Chinese firm agreeing to the terms exempt from duties
BRUSSELS Aug 2 European Union officials
endorsed a deal on Friday to settle a dispute with China over
solar panels, the biggest trade row to date between the two
powers, after winning almost unanimous backing from member
The agreement will be officially published on Saturday and
takes effect on Aug. 6. Chinese firms who agree to its terms
will avoid duties that the 28-nation EU had planned to impose.
In a statement, the European Commission, the EU's executive
arm, said it had received almost unanimous support but declined
to give details on any possible abstentions.
"We can't go into details. A huge majority of member states
voted in favour. No member state voted against," a Commission
The EU trade chief and his Chinese counterpart agreed late
last month to set a minimum price for panels from China near
spot market prices.
European solar panel makers have accused China of benefiting
from huge state subsidies, allowing them to dump about 21
billion euros ($27.79 billion) worth of below-cost panels in
Europe last year.
The EU had planned to impose hefty tariffs from Aug. 6 but,
wary of offending China's leaders and losing business in the
world's No. 2 economy, a majority of governments, led by
Germany, opposed the plan, allowing for the compromise deal.
Europe is China's most important trading partner, while for
the EU, China is second only to the United States. Chinese
exports of goods to the bloc totalled 290 billion euros last
year, with 144 billion going the other way.
For more on the solar dispute:
($1 = 0.7557 euros)
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis, editing by Gareth Jones)