EU member states reject Commission's proposed solar trade duties extension

By Kristina Thoring, Political Communications Advisor at SolarPower Europe


On Thursday 26 January, the Member States of the European Union voted on the European Commission's proposal to extend the measures on solar modules and cells imported from China, Taiwan and Malaysia for two years. We are delighted to report that more than half of the Member States voted against extending the duties on the anti-dumping measures. It is the first time that a proposal of the Commission is subject to an appeal from the Member States in this system of trade defence. This process, whilst never used before, is likely to put increased pressure on DG Trade to change their position.

We want to start by thanking all the European solar associations, who took part in achieving this historic result and who joined us for meetings in the capitals (see photos below). We, SolarPower Europe, and the large majority of the European solar industry remain convinced that the trade measures are not the correct tool to help our sector grow. 

Whilst the measures were originally set up in the belief they would help European solar, countless European stakeholders are experiencing the opposite. Only 2% of European solar jobs are covered by these measures while exposing 98% to negative impacts. We firmly believe it is time to move beyond trade measures and bring forward policies to support the whole European solar value chain, of course including European module manufacturers. We urgently need new initiatives that stimulate demand, while extending the trade measures is simply prolonging an unnecessary and negative policy hurting European solar.

We will now work with the Member States through the appeal process to find a suitable compromise to remove the measures as soon as possible, so that we can have a dynamic and growing solar sector in Europe once again.

Register to our MIP group for the latest news on the trade case (SolarPower Europe members service), please contact k.thoring@solarpowereurope.org

Background:

In December 2013, the EU imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on crystalline silicon modules and cells originating in or consigned from China. These duties were applicable until December 2015. In parallel, the EU accepted the price undertaking agreement submitted by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME). The undertaking is articulated around "Minimum Import Prices" (MIPs) and annual quota levels per type of product. In December 2015, the Commission launched an expiry review into the measures and must make its final decision by early March 2017 whether to extend or remove the trade duties. The European Commission's proposal must be approved by EU Member States to implement the regulation.   

Photo: Bogdan Szymaski, President of Polska PV and James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe
Photo: Dr. Sotiris Kapellos, Chairman, Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies and James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe
Photo: Vladimir Alitchkov, Vice-Chairperson, Bulgarian PV Association, Malinka Nikolova,Chairman of the Board, Bulgarian Solar Association and James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe
Photo: Mr Lyuben Petrov, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Economy and James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe