Europe on verge of trade war with China over cheap solar panels

May 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The EC is expected to consult with member states before taking a formal
decision on penalties in early June.

China’s ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, Yi Xiaozhun, told Reuters
that the move would “send the wrong message to the world that
protectionism is coming”.

The plans come at a time when Chinese relations are already tense for both
Britain and the wider EU.

The Telegraph revealed this week that billions
of pounds of Chinese investment in the UK are threatened by a diplomatic
stand-off over Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to meet the Dalai
Lama last year
.

The EU, China’s largest export market, has already clashed with China over a
series of trade issues. In September, the EC launched its anti-dumping probe
into Chinese solar panels, prompted by complaints from primarily German and
Italian companies who have struggled to compete against the cheap imports.

In November, the EC escalated its action with an anti-subsidy investigation.
Both investigations will take nine months at the end of which it will report
back to member states and decide whether to impose provisional duties.

China retaliated to the investigations with an inquiry into European exports
of polysilicon, a key component for solar panel makers.

The Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy said reports of the EC’s provisional
anti-dumping duties were “extremely worrying” and warned that levies over
15pc could destroy 85pc of the European market for solar panels.

It said that “punitive tariffs, no matter at what level, would cause
irreversible damage” to the solar power industry in Europe.

Britain’s energy minister Greg Barker told a UK confererence on solar power
late last month that the technology would be “at the heart of the UK’s
energy mix” but admitted the Chinese issue was the “elephant in the room”.

He urged solar companies to continue lobbying against the proposals through
their trade associations.

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