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EU firms file trade complaint about Chinese PV imports

This week, a group of solar panels companies formed the EU ProSun group and filed trade complaints against Chinese PV imports with the EU Commission.

The complaint charges that Chinese PV manufacturer have been dumping their products in the EU at below-cost prices. EU ProSun is made up of 20 European companies, and is led by SolarWorld, the same manufacturer that led the push for tariffs on Chinese import to the U.S.

Milan Nitzschke, SolarWorld’s vice president, leads the group. “Chinese companies have captured over 80% of the EU market for solar products from virtually zero only a few years ago,” said Nitzschke. “EU manufacturers have the world’s best solar technologies but are beaten in their home market due to illegal dumping of Chinese solar products below their cost of production.”

EU ProSun claims that unfair Chinese competition has been decimating the EU market, leading to layoffs and bankruptcies. “European industry does not want to increase prices but rather stop the current ruinous race to the bottom,” he continued. “If the EU acts quickly, we have a chance to maintain a sustainable solar manufacturing base in Europe for the benefit of jobs, growth, innovation and the planet.”

The extent of Chinese overcapacity in 2011 alleged by EU ProSun. Credit: EU ProSun

But other European firms say that EU ProSun’s actions are not representative of the wishes of the market.

“The backbone of the solar industry, small and middle-sized local installers, developers, retailers, engineers and maintenance technicians, would be at stake in case of anti-dumping measures being imposed by the EU,” said Till Richter, managing partner of Germany’s Richter Solar, in a statement released by the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy.

And Chinese firms were quick to point out the potential future impacts of such an investigation.

“If the EU were to follow the precedent of the U.S. and launch an anti-dumping investigation on Chinese solar products, the Chinese solar industry would suffer a fatal blow,” said Yingli Solar’s chief strategy officer Wang Yiyu.

“The investigation would also trigger a wholescale trade war between China and the EU, which would cause huge losses to both parties,” he said at a briefing by leading Chinese solar companies Yingli, SunTech, Trina and Canadian Solar, Reuters reports.

The European Commission now has 45 days to decide whether to proceed with the investigation. If it decides to go ahead, the investigation must conclude within 15 months.


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