BRUSSELS -- All EU imports of Chinese solar panels and components will now be recorded, the European Commission said Tuesday, as part of an anti-dumping probe that has sparked an angry response in Beijing.

"Today it has been decided to register imports of solar panels and components" from China, a Commission spokesman said.

"This is an administrative step ... and does not pre-judge in any way the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations," the spokesman said.

EU rules allow authorities to begin registering contested products before an initial ruling so that levies can be retroactively imposed if fault is found

The EU ProSun industry association has pressed the EU to take action against Chinese imports, which it says are sold below cost and given unfair subsidies by Beijing.

EU ProSun head Milan Nitzschke said "dumping is the fundamental problem in the European solar market."

Late last month, Brussels launched a probe into Chinese exports of solar glass, the latest move in a long-running dispute between the EU and China.

The EU began a separate anti-dumping investigation into imports of Chinese solar panels in September, following up in November with an anti-subsidy probe.

That November move followed a decision by China to launch a probe of its own into European exports of solar-grade polysilicon, a key component for the industry.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013