end of taxes on Chinese solar panels

Restrictions on the sale of Chinese solar panels in the European Union end on Monday evening at midnight, as planned. The Commission has decided to abolish these anti-dumping measures, which ultimately also disadvantage some European manufacturers.

Since 2013, these taxes were primarily intended to protect the European solar industry against this massive import of cheaper Chinese panels. Finally, they turned out to be counterproductive, because at the same time they increased costs for companies in the Old Continent, including installers of solar panels, who supplied themselves in China.

Promote renewable energies

These anti-dumping duties, which were established 5 years ago, were extended by the European Commission in March 2017 for 18 months; the European executive then announced that it did not intend to extend it. To escape these restrictions, the agreement stipulated that the Chinese producers must respect a floor price of 0.56 euros per watt of power produced.

Today the Commission considers that the scheme has played its part in allowing these import prices in line with those of the world market. Brussels also wants to promote the development of renewable energy by removing these taxes.

As Beijing, this outcome welcomed by seeing one "Model of positive settlement of a trade dispute through consultation", European companies are divided. SolarPower Europe, which brings together European importers and installers of photovoltaic panels, welcomed the end of these restrictions. a "Turning point"for the European solar energy sector, the association observes, which sees the greatest impediment to growth.

On the other hand, the manufacturers of solar panels are afraid of new massive imports. Grouped within EU ProSun, they had requested a further extension of these anti-dumping measures, stating that a waiver would be "Devastating for the industry". Some companies can also bring the case before the Court of Justice

China has an overcapacity in the production of 30 gigawatt solar panels. The European market as a whole represents about 7 gigawatts. The trade war with the United States, after the imposition of customs duties by the Trump administration, hardly offers him another outlet.

Dominique Chapuis

(with Reuters)

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