Published on August 28th, 2018 | by Joshua S Hill0
EU Could Move To Scrap Import Controls On Chinese Solar By September
August 28th, 2018 by Joshua S Hill
According to reports from Reuters, the European Union is considering scrapping import controls on solar panels and cells from China next month after a majority of the EU’s Member States backed the move.
Reuters reported last week, according to “EU sources familiar with the discussions,” that the European Commission has proposed to dismiss a request for an “expiry review” of existing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures, a move which has received backing from a majority of the European Union’s (currently) 28 Member States.
The European Union first imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures against imported Chinese solar panels, wafers, and cells, all the way back in 2013, before extending the measures in March of 2017 by 18 months with the intention that they would then end. Currently, Chinese solar manufacturers are able to sell their products throughout Europe free of any duties if they do so at or above a minimum price that has progressively declined over the length of the imposed measures.
While the majority of EU Member States have approved ending the measures, EU ProSun — a joint initiative representing EU solar producers which launched the original complaint back in 2012 — has claimed there are still good reasons why the measures should be prolonged.
“The European Commission is planning to reject a request by the European solar manufacturing industry to extend antidumping measures and to open an expiry review,” explained Milan Nitzschke, President of EU ProSun.
“As a result, antidumping measures will end as of September 3rd. This comes at the same time as China is releasing the biggest wave of dumped exports ever in the global solar market: A volume four times as big as the annual demand of all EU member states put together. While other big markets such as the US, India, Canada, or Turkey are implementing strict measures against being flooded by dumped Chinese produced solar modules, the EU is going to terminate its existing anti-dumping measures and throwing open the doors to its market.”
According to ProSun, the current curtailment of solar capacity development in China is going to have a detrimental impact on the manufacturing capacity and success of European solar manufacturers. Specifically, China accounts for 7 out of 10 solar modules made in the world, and every second module is being installed in China. However, with capacity limits now in place, ProSun expects 30 GW of solar modules to be redirected to other export destinations, a figure which is four-times the annual solar demand across the EU.
“To reject the legitimate request of the EU industry for an expiry review violates basic EU trade defense law,” Nitzschke continued.
“But, most of all, it jeopardises a heritage of 30 years of technological development undertaken by the EU’s solar manufacturing industry and severely damages 40 manufacturing companies operating in 17 European member states.
“Obviously, the European Commission is giving in to a combination of longstanding Chinese pressure and importers’ associations’ endlessly repeated fairy tales that anti-dumping measures would hamper the growth of solar energy installations in Europe. This claim has been proven wrong in reality. Today, solar energy is already the cheapest source of electricity in Europe. It will not get cheaper if the current anti-dumping measures expire. It will only be that importers’ margins will increase a little. But, the damage to the manufacturing industry – and indeed the whole value chain – will be devastating.”