Monday

9th Dec 2019

Focus

Solar association fears China investigation will raise prices

  • Chinese manufacturers should sell their solar modules to the EU for a minimum price, something which the Brussels-based trade association said should end. (Photo: pixor)

Europe's solar industry fears a European Commission investigation into possible anti-competitive practices by China concerning solar imports will raise solar panel prices in Europe.

“It is very difficult to see how the investigation will lead to anything but an increase of price”, said James Watson, CEO of Solar Power Europe Monday (1 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The commission announced last week (29 May) that it would look into whether China is circumventing measures the EU put in place in 2013 that restrict imports of solar modules and key components.

EU and Chinese solar companies reached an agreement for a minimum import price in 2013.

But in April this year, SolarWorld, a German manufacturer of solar products, filed a complaint with the commission. The German company suspected Chinese companies are using Malaysian and Taiwanese exporters as front organisations to circumvent the minimum price.

Sufficient evidence

The commission said on Friday the German company provided “sufficient evidence” for an investigation.

Solar products that are imported to the EU from Malaysia and Taiwan will have to be registered to prove they did not originally come from China.

The move was welcomed by EU ProSun, another solar panel organisation.

“European solar manufacturers are severely damaged by this continued dumping,” EU ProSun said in a statement, noting that it estimates €500 million in customs revenue has been lost as a result.

Solar Power Europe has been pushing since April to have the minimum import prices scrapped after they expire later this year.

Watson blamed the price threshold for Chinese companies as partially responsible for an increase in the price of solar modules.

He noted that the association “understands” that the commission is carrying out the investigation, but that it follows from having a minimum import price.

The German company that filed the complaint with the commission, SolarWorld, is a member of Solar Power Europe, and they “are not very happy” with its position, but will stay as a member, said Watson, adding: “We agree to disagree.”

China retaliates in EU trade dispute

China has hit back at Europe targeting wine imports in a tit-for-tat move over the EU commission's decision to impose anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar panels.

Green electricity growth stalling in Europe

Growth of renewable electricity in Europe in the next five years could be almost 30 percent higher if market and policy conditions improve, the International Energy Agency said.

News in Brief

  1. EU agrees future human rights sanctions
  2. Greens demand Zahradil conflict of interest probe
  3. EU commission to 'correct mistake' on enlargement
  4. Luxembourg pushes EU to recognise Palestine
  5. Minister: 'All Brussels kids should be trilingual at 18'
  6. Macron pushes pension reform despite protests
  7. Marin becomes Finland's youngest prime minister
  8. Greece denies access to fair asylum process, report says

Opinion

Merkel's China challenge - distance but engagement

The German chancellor's visit to China starts Thursday. She must signal to Beijing that Europe is serious and united in its newly critical approach to China - and show Washington that there are less destructive ways to deal with differences.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us