A letter signed by 34 European solar and renewable energy organizations has called on the EU to immediately remove trade measures which exist against imports of Chinese PV modules and cells.
“Representing the formalization of the position that SolarPower Europe has had for a number of years, the European solar association has led a consortium of solar organizations to ask the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmstrom, to drop PV trade barriers against China. The letter puts forward a case that the trade defense measures against China are actually hindering the development of the solar industry in Europe.”
The petitioning organizations ask for the minimum import price, the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on Chinese PV imports to be removed.
The EU adopted these stern trade measures in December 2013 — it’s aim to protect European solar entities. However, these measures are now viewed as counterproductive.
“This is an overwhelming show of support from organizations across the EU working in solar,” said SolarPower Europe CEO, James Watson. “The measures have been in place for more than three years without any real benefit to the European solar industry.”
Many industry insiders contend these measures have made solar more expensive in Europe, affecting the competitiveness of solar energy generation and is prolonging financial support from European governments.
The EU letter indicates hindering the competitiveness of solar energy runs contrary to the goal of the EU to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions.
“European jobs, GVA, climate change policy, consumer interest and manufacturing interests are all being undermined by the trade defense measures.”
“We need a better, more specific approach to support module producers in Europe, trade measures are a blunt instrument harming more than 80% of solar manufacturing jobs and all downstream jobs in Europe today,” stated Watson. “The Commission needs to develop a new way forward for solar without trade duties and price mechanisms.”
Since July 2015, the argument for removing tariff barriers has persisted:
“Dismantling tariff barriers to Chinese solar products will make solar energy cheaper for consumers in Europe. This will open up new business possibilities for European solar companies and thus help safeguard jobs. Removing barriers to trade will facilitate the necessary investment in our energy transition and make it easier to achieve our climate targets.”
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