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Chinese PV factory workers to protest EU trade complaint

This Thursday, thousands of workers from China’s four largest PV firms will protest the trade complaint against Chinese PV imports filed with the European Commission last week.

The Wall Street Journal reports that officials from Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar and Suntech told Dow Jones Newswires that 13,000 workers would be involved in the demonstrations.

Employees at seven factories will stop work for an hour to protest the anti-dumping complaint filed by EU ProSun, a newly-formed industry group of around 20 solar panel manufacturers. The European firms claim that Chinese solar panel manufacturers have been selling solar panels at below-cost in the EU to gain market share.

Photo Credit: Trina Solar

EU ProSun is led by SolarWorld, the same company that spearheaded the trade complaints in the U.S. that have led to preliminary tariffs on Chinese PV cell imports.

“If an anti-dumping tariff materializes, it will hurt Chinese workers and threaten more than 300,000 jobs. We urge the government to begin official talks with parties in the EU to prevent an investigation and to protect the rights of Chinese solar companies,” Shen Yangzi, spokeswoman for Canadian Solar, told the Wall Street Journal.

Almost two-thirds of the solar panels produced in China last year – worth around $35 billion – were exported to the EU. But solar panel firms in Europe and the U.S. have been concerned about the rising competition from Chinese manufacturers, with many firms struggling to stay afloat.

Chinese manufacturers, as well as the Chinese government, have denied claims of illegal government support and unfair trade practices.

“We don’t want to protest, yet if our jobs are at stake we have to express our thoughts against a trade war,” a Yingli spokesman said.


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