The story of the solar trade conflict continues, but finally with some news regarding actual negotiations rather than an escalating solar trade war.
Negotiations towards a dismissal of trade tariffs between a 14-strong group of regional and national governments has perhaps finally commenced. China, the EU, and the US are the main parties in this effort.
The Environmental Goods Agreement covers 54 products, and the annual trade value of this is about $ 1 trillion. The focus of this multi-continental discussion is elimination of solar trade tariffs and customs duties. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and South Korea are close to agreeing to participation.
The countries involved cover most of the major trade disputes in the PV industry. India is a singular absentee. Presently, India is involved in a high-profile dispute. At present, tariffs imposed as part of trade disputes are not up for negotiation but could be included in the future.
This issue is a complex, of course, with so many countries as well as different segments of the solar supply chain involved. PV Tech provides some quotes from EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht:
“Over the years the EU has been at the forefront in protecting the environment and fighting against climate change,” said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
“This initiative is an excellent example how trade policy can positively contribute to the global objective of sustainable development, i.e. facilitating access to clean energy and rapid urbanization process.”
Continuing with the US Administration:
“The Obama Administration is advancing a trade policy that reflects our core values and unlocks new economic opportunities for American exporters and families – especially when it comes to fostering exports of Made-in-America environmental goods,” said US trade representative Michael Froman.
“By eliminating tariffs on the technologies we all need to protect our environment, we can make environmental goods cheaper and more accessible for everyone, making essential progress toward our environmental protection and trade policy goals.”
Many organizations are welcoming these trade talks.
Dispersing stress that was growing due to trade defense plus anti-dumping cases and arguments at the WTO is the driver of this effort, all of which has been caused by economic traffic jams created by the trade conflicts.
The hope is there for prompt results by the end of 2015. The UN climate change summit in Paris and a biannual WTO ministerial meeting will also quicken change.
Another source, the BBC News, finds different viewpoints in its study of the negotiations. BBC shares:
One of the most controversial elements is the idea of allowing investors to take governments to international tribunals to seek compensation if they think those rules have been broken.
BBC discusses protests at some of the talks. It also mentions that the WTO cites problems with the US, though the WTO did not agree with all the grievances registered by India and China.