Tuesday

21st Nov 2017

EU states divided over energy saving light bulbs

  • A 13-watt compact fluorescent light is equal to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, generating the same amount of light with less power (Photo: EUobserver)

EU member states are divided over a European Commission plan to end special import duties on Chinese energy-saving light bulbs, put in place five years ago after it was found that China was selling the product in Europe below production cost.

A small majority of EU government officials meeting in Brussels on Thursday (26 July) gave initial backing to the plan to drop the anti-dumping duties.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Among the ten states in favour of dropping the duties were free trade supporting countries like Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden. Nine member states, led by Germany, were against the move.

The remaining eight said they needed more time to consider the plan.

The duties, which are up to 66.1 percent of the production price, have been in force since February 2001 and will expire on 15 October unless renewed.

"The Commission is going to propose the suspension of that tax," Commission trade spokesman Peter Power said on Thursday, explaining that the EU executive will make its actual proposal in the coming months. Member states representatives in the anti-dumping advisory committee are expected to make a final decision in early September.

Germany's Osram - one of Europe's leading light bulb makers - has pushed for the duties to stay in place although a part of the company's production comes from China.

Philips, another light bulb producer based in the Netherlands, has a larger part of its production in China and wants the duties axed.

"It is a question of commercial competition," Mr Power said, adding that "Osram is seeking to continue anti-dumping measures because they hit Philips proportionally harder."

Two other energy saving light bulb manufacturers in Europe - GE and Sylvania - also oppose the continuation of the duties.

Lower prices versus jobs

The plan to axe the duties could mean that energy saving light bulbs would become cheaper for consumers in Europe and help the bloc reach its climate change goals, set in February this year, to make an energy efficiency saving of 20 percent by 2020 and also to cut CO2 emissions by at least 20 percent in the same time period.

But there are also concerns that cheaper light bulbs from China could have an effect on the industry in Europe and lead to job losses.

"We have to look at both sides," commission industry spokesman Ton van Lierop told EUobserver. EU industry commissioner Guenther Verheugen will make up his mind on the issue in the autumn, he said.

Opinion

EU must confront Poland and Hungary

Curtailing NGOs and threatening judicial independence are the hallmarks of developing-world dictators and authoritarian strongmen, not a free and pluralistic European Union.

Amsterdam wins EU medicines agency on coin toss

The staff of the London-based EMA will move to the Dutch city of Amsterdam after Brexit, following a coin toss. Chance also decided the new home of the European Banking Authority: Paris.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  2. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  3. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  4. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  5. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  6. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  7. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  8. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  10. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  11. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  12. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education