Solar panels: EU will not extend anti-dumping measures

Written by Martin Banks on 3 September 2018 in News

Controversial anti-dumping measures on solar panels from China will not be extended, the European Commission announced on Monday.

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The executive said it had no plans to renew the long-standing measures, which expire at midnight on Monday.

The decision was welcomed by some but condemned by others, including EU ProSun, the grouping of EU producers that launched the initial complaint about solar panels from China back in 2012 and wanted a further extension of measures. It has reportedly said that European manufacturers would be incensed if the measures ended.

The EU first imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures in December 2013 for a period of two years. These were then renewed in March 2017 for a period of 18 months only, as opposed to the usual five years. 

The Commission said that the level of the measures has gradually decreased over time to allow the prices of the imports into the EU to “align progressively with world market prices.”

On Monday, the Commission in a statement said, “After considering the needs of both producers and those using or importing solar panels, the Commission has decided it was in the best interests of the EU as a whole to let the measures lapse. This decision also takes into account the EU’s new renewable energy targets.”

The Commission spokesperson said there was no justification for a further extension of the measures and rejected the EU industry’s request for an expiry review investigation.

A non-EU company is ‘dumping’ if it exports a product to the EU at a price lower than the normal value of the product. Since December 2017 the EU has an alternative method to calculate dumped imports if state interference significantly distorts the economy of the exporting country.

On Monday, Reuters reported that China’s commerce ministry welcomed the end of restrictions, describing the move as a “model for successfully resolving trade frictions through consultations.” 

The move “will restore EU-China trade of photovoltaics to a normal market condition, will provide a more stable and predictable business environment for cooperation between the two sides’ industries, and will truly realize mutual benefit for both sides,” the ministry said in a statement.

Further reaction to the announcement came from EU Prosun which, in late 2015, had applied for a review of anti-dumping measures, which led to them being renewed.

Some companies, according to reports, are now considering a legal challenge to the Commission’s decision at the European Court of Justice. EU ProSun said that years of falling prices had not resulted in growth of the European market.

However, last week James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, told pv magazine, “SolarPower Europe has fought hard for the removal of these duties as we see them as a major barrier to the growth of solar in Europe. We are pleased that the Commission will follow its plan to eliminate the measures while at the same time we must now have a strong industrial policy put in place for solar manufacturing to grow in Europe.”


About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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