Poker on extension of EU solar trade sanctions – Appeal Committee negotiates on February 17

2/9/17, 2:55 PM -

It is rather unrealistic that the solar trade sanctions against Chinese PV-imports will be completely dropped by March. But probably the extension will be shortened and loosened. Solarpower Europe demands for an immediate termination of measures against cell imports.

Solar modules, price of solar modules, solar module prices, MIP, Price Undertaking, Solar Power Europe, SAFE, Trade sanctions, trade measures, solar cells, Astronergy
Chinese companies as Astronergy also produce solar modules in Europe, but they are also negatively affected by the EU solar trade sanctions against China.

The poker about the extension of the trade sanctions against Chinese solar imports goes into the next round. Last week 18 out of 24 Member states voted against the extension of the anti-dumping measures. The anti-subsidy measures were rejected by 14 Member States. 15 rejections would have been needed to trigger the appeal.

Proposal for 18-months extension

Yesterday EU Vicepresident Frans Timmermanns announced the current compromise proposal of the Commission: A new 18-month tariff period with a gradual exit, instead of a 24-months extension. “The precise conditions are something that will be up for debate, also with member states now”, Timmermanns said at a news conference in Brussels yesterday.

Further reduction demanded

“This period should be reduced to 12-15 months”, Kristina Thoring, speaker of Solar Power Europe demands. “This reasons for this reduction can be based on a reconsideration of the potential impact of measures on demand for solar in the short and medium term, as recognized by DG Trade in their own proposal”, she told pv Europe. “The revised proposal should provide that a further expiry review would be inviable”, she added. “This is justifiable on the basis of the significant changes in the solar market including the decreasing global significance of the EU solar market (as more than 150 markets for solar now exist), and that the further extension of the measures would not be justifiable on Union interest grounds. It is argued that measures would significantly affect the European downstream and upstream industries due to their impact on demand (as noted by the Commission) in the short and medium turn”, she says.

Cell production market in Europe 96 percent captive

Solar Power Europe also calls for an immediate removal of trade measures on solar cells. “The European cell production market is 96 percent captive and thus it would be in the interest of European module manufacturers to have access to market priced cells, to help their competitiveness and support them to build a viable future for module manufacturing in Europe. To do this the trade measures on cells must be terminated”, Thoring underlines. 

Remove the sanctions as soon as possible

“If the rumours are true, and the Commission is considering reducing the time application and limiting the possibility of a further expiry review, then the Commission is going in the right direction. However, we believe that the Commission would still need to go further and remove the measures as soon as possible, a position supported by the majority of Member States and 98 percent of the European solar industry”, Thoring said.

Still over 100 Chinese manufacturers affected

Hanne May, speaker of the Solar Alliance for Europe (Safe) calls on the EU Commission to take the concerns of the Member States against the trade sanctions seriously. Due to the exit of most important Tier-1 Chinese manufacturers from the Price Undertaking and the production outside of China the sanctions on the module side are partly not so market relevant anymore, she confirmed. Therefore modules are often available between 30 to 40 Cents per Watt, far below the Minimum-Import-Price (MIP) of currently 46 Cents per Watt. “But still we see at least 100 Chinese manufacturers affected by the sanctions and the major manufacturers did not shift their total production outside of China”, she said. “Additionally, there are a lot of bureaucratic hurdles and additional expenses for project developers and buyers through the trade sanctions”, she added.

Appeal Committee negotiates February 17

Friday next week, February 17, the EU Commission will negotiate it`s proposal of an 18-months extension of the sanctions with representatives of the 24 Member States in an Appeal Committee. Whether the trade measures against the import of cells will be terminated will be seen. By March 3 the Commission will announce its decision. (HCN)

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