SolarPower Europe, the new European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) that has 34 organization members, called for the end of trade measures on Chinese solar panels and cells. The organizations believe that the measures cause negative impact on the solar industry in Europe.
The organizations sent a letter to Commissioner Malmstrom on July 5, calling on the European Commission to remove the punitive trade barriers on China PV imports. The organizations represent over 1.3 million European jobs and more than 130,000 European companies related to the PV industry.
“This is an overwhelming show of support from organizations across the EU working in solar. The measures have been in place for more than 3 years without any real benefit to the European solar industry. We need a better, more specific approach to support module producers in Europe, trade measures are a blunt instrument harming more than 80% of solar manufacturing jobs and all downstream jobs in Europe today. The Commission needs to develop a new way forward for solar without trade duties and price mechanisms,” stated James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe.
SolarPower Europe is a member-led association aiming to shape the regulatory environment and enhance business opportunities for solar power in Europe. The organizations sending the letter include 20 EU members: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK. The organizations hope to remove the trade barrier on China imports EU-wide.
Brief: EU’s trade measure on China
The EU Commission launched anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations against Chinese PV and solar panel imports, and started imposing trade duties since August, 2013. A Minimum Import Price (MIP) agreement was in place alongside with the punitive duties.
The trade measures were supposed to end by December 2015, yet EU ProSun appealed for a 15-month expansion for further investigations on China’s alleged agreement violations. The European Commission accepted the appeal and postpone the end day to March 2017.
Taiwanese and Malaysian PV makers were also involved in the trade dispute between EU and China because EU ProSun accused that certain Taiwanese and Malaysian makers helped China to circumvent the trade measures. EU announced a result on this investigation and defined 21 Taiwanese makers and five Malaysian makers as tariff-free “genuine producers.”
Still, many Chinese PV leaders, such as Trina Solar and ReneSola, has been or has withdrew from the MIP agreement among EU’s recent investigations.