Jinko said it is withdrawing from the price undertaking deal struck between the European Commission (EC) and Chinese PV manufacturers in 2013 as an alternative to the imposition of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on imports from China – in Jinko's case 41.2% and 6.5%, respectively.

The OEM claimed the pricing levels set by the EC were seriously out of step with declining market prices for its products in Europe, leaving it unable to compete effectively with those outside the agreement.

The EC has come under pressure from many in the European solar sector to abandon the trade measures, amid claims that the price floors are harming the industry’s competitiveness at a crucial time.

But Brussels announced late last year that the minimum import price (MIP) agreement would stay in place until at least early 2017 while it carries out a review.

That was the last straw for Trina Solar, the world’s biggest supplier of PV modules for the last two years, which said in December 2015 that it would walk away from the arrangement.

JinkoSolar and Trina are currently running neck and neck for the global top spot – Jinko has out-shipped its rival for the first half of 2016 – and while the EC has thrown a string of minnow-sized Chinese producers out of the agreement for abusing it, it has now seen the two biggest names in the pack walk away of their own accord.

Like Trina before it, JinkoSolar said it remained committed to its European business and pointed to its ability to supply from a global network of production facilities.

Announcing its decision today, Jinko said: "After careful strategic consideration, the Company believes that the [MIP] agreement is no longer conducive to the ongoing expansion of its business in the EU.

“The Company believes that trade protectionism only harms fair competition in the market, hinders the development of the entire PV industry, and hurts PV consumers.”

JinkoSolar chairman Xiande Li said: "After carefully reviewing our EU operations, we believe that the current MIPs no longer accurately reflect the current market price environment given that average selling prices in all major EU markets continue to decline, and seriously erode our competitiveness in those markets.

“We feel our competitiveness and market power were being unfairly hampered and have opted to withdraw from the UT agreement.”