International trade

Alongside the dramatic growth of solar power, we have seen the emergence of a new era of trade disputes. In fact, solar is the only clean energy technology to have been plagued by trade measures since the turn of the decade.

In Europe, anti-dumping and countervailing duties have been in place on imported solar panels and cells from China since 2012. While the EU and China arrived at an agreement to introduce a ‘Minimum Import Price’ (MIP), a set price and an annual quota on Chinese solar products, the dispute is now past its fifth year and is the largest trade case, in terms of value, that the EU is currently prosecuting against China.

In 2015, SolarPower Europe, the only association for the solar sector at the European level, decided to call for the removal of the measures. This was a unanimous decision of the Board, including European panel manufacturers as it was agreed that this would support an increased demand for solar in Europe. Removing the duties would also be a boost for a sector that has seen declining rates of solar installation and jobs in Europe over the past 5 years.

There is a vast and growing opposition to the trade measures in Europe, from solar companies, NGO’s, to Members of European Parliament and EU Member States.

In January 2017, 18 EU Member States voted to reject the Commission’s proposal to extend the trade measures for 2 years on anti-dumping measures. This was the first time in EU trade history that a trade case went to the new Appeal Committee procedure. In February 2017, the European Commission announced that they would phase out the trade measures by September 2018.

On 31 August 2018 the European Commission announced that the trade measures on solar panels and cells from China, Taiwan and Malaysia would end. 

The trade measures expired at midnight on 3 September 2018.

Subscribe to SolarPower Europe’s exclusive MIP Mailing Group

SolarPower Europe is offering an exclusive information service to our members interested in the MIP and associated trade topics. Our monthly trade mailings contain real time information and analysis on the developments of the solar trade case, including guidance on the MIP regulation and webinars with Q&A. 

If you would like to sign up to receive emails on the trade case, contact k.thoring@solarpowereurope.org.

Removing the trade measures would have huge positive effect on EU solar jobs

A 2017 EY study on ‘Solar Jobs & Value added in Europe’ found that removing the trade measures would have a hugely positive impact on European employment and wealth creation. The report found that lifting the trade measures could result in the creation of more than 40,000 new jobs by 2019 in EU28.

James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe on the on EU-China trade case

Industrial strategy not trade measures

SolarPower Europe call on the European Commission to create a holistic policy that bolsters the entire solar value chain, not segmental measures that benefit no one. To drive investment into the European solar sector the European Commission must lift the trade measures and create a strong industrial strategy for our sector. An industrial competitiveness strategy for solar in Europe, could see the EU take global leadership on the existing and next generation of solar technologies, manufacturing and services – while creating more than 300,000 jobs.

SolarPower Europe supports the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA)

The Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), which aims to remove barriers to trade in environmental or ‘green’ goods that are crucial for environmental protection and climate change mitigation, has the potential to be the first-ever worldwide agreement to facilitate trade in the solar sector.

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