The European Commission is to investigate claims that Chinese manufacturers unfairly exporting solar panels into the region at a loss.
Earlier this year, US authorities carried out a similar investigation culminating in the slapping of large import tariffs onto Chinese-made solar panels.
China is now the largest manufacturer of solar panels, accounting for some two-thirds of global production. Europe is its largest market, worth €21 billion a year in exported solar panels.
The EC has received a complaint from the industry association, EU ProSun, which represents some 20 European producers, regarding the importing of solar panels and key components are below market value prices, which it is obliged to investigate.
“Chinese companies are selling solar products in Europe far below their cost of production, with a dumping margin of 60 % to 80%,” alleges Milan Nitzschke, president of EU ProSun. “This means that Chinese solar companies are making enormous losses, but are not bankrupt because they are bankrolled by the state. Such practices have led to over 20 major European solar manufacturers going out of business already in 2012 alone.”
But China has hit back at the allegations, warning that trade curbs with Europe could be imposed if the EC goes ahead with the investigation.
Trina Solar, one of China’s leading solar panel manufacturers, issued a statement yesterday saying that the claims made by German company Solarworld and the EU ProSun group are “unfounded”.
“Trina Solar products are neither dumped nor subsidized. They are produced, and sold competitively on the European market,” adds company chair and CEO Jifan Gao.
The statement maintains that all the company’s transactions “were and are made in accordance with international fair trade practices” and warns that the allegations “threaten the ability of EU consumers to receive the benefits of clean and innovative solar energy products”.
However, Gao said that Trina Solar would cooperate with the EC to ensure it receives all the necessary information but added that it would contest the claims “vigorously”.
President of Trina Solar Europe, Ben Hill, said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s call for dialogue was very welcome.
“We… are ready to participate in any dialogue which may be initiated,” he said.
Other major solar panel manufacturers Suntech Power Holdings and Yingli Green Energy have also issued statements pledging to cooperate with the investigation.
For further information:
US jacks up import tariffs on Chinese solar panels (18-May)
US government imposes import levy on Chinese solar panels (22-Mar)
07 September 2012