The Green Energy Market in Europe Is Facing Chinese Dumping Activities
In terms of The European Commission, this is the situation of anti-dumping duties of solar panels in China:
“Today the European Commission has decided to impose provisional anti-dumping duties on imports of solar panels, cells and wafers from China.This decision follows a thorough and serious investigation and extended contacts with market players. As the market for and imports of solar panels in the EU is very large, it is important for this duty not to disrupt it.
Therefore, a phased approach will be followed with the duty set at 11.8% until 6 August 2013. From August on the duty will be set at the level of 47.6% which is the level required to remove the harm caused by the dumping to the European industry. The European Commission reiterates its readiness to pursue discussions with Chinese exporters and with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in order to find a solution in line with Article 8 of the Basic Anti-Dumping Regulation so that provisional duties can be suspended and a negotiated solution achieved.
The European Commission reaffirms its readiness to have the EU-China Joint Committee in the next weeks at a mutually agreeable date to discuss in a constructive manner all topics of our trade relations in line with our common WTO commitments and in the spirit of our strategic partnership.”
In September 2012 (MEMO/12/647) the European Commission started a nine month investigation, only to discover that certain Chinese companies are exporting solar panels to Europe at a much lower price than their normal value, and therefore below EU prices. This greatly affects the EU solar panel industry. A Chinese solar panel is sold to an 88% lower value than the price to which it ought to be sold. This illegal dumping activity had a major negative effect on the European producers’ business performance.
In order to compensate for the damages caused by the Chinese, duties were imposed as follows: 11.8% for the first two months, and then 47.6% for another four months. This provisional duty will cover a six months’ period. The reason why provisional duties are below 88% of the rate to which the panels were dumped, is the application of the “lesser duty rule”, i.e. imposing only the duty which is necessary for restoring fair competition on the EU market.
The Commission intends to look further into this issue. The views of all the parties involved will be heard. A better and more intense communication with China should be developed, in order to find some acceptable alternatives, by means of a negotiation. By the 5th of December, the Commission has to decide whether or not to impose definitive duties for a period of five years.
Regarding the solar panel production
New threats of bankruptcy assault the EU companies due to below the belt punches given by its competition, the Chinese exporters, who detain at current time more than 80% of the EU market and show up to 150% global needs in production capacity, as an example, in 2012, China exceeded EU demand by almost 100%. If supply measures will be obliged, 25,000 jobs will be secured in the EU solar production, and additional jobs will be sustained.
Thus being said, if the imports from other countries increase, these jobs will not be recreated and a substantial part of the 25,000 jobs in the production industry will be lost forever if no measures are taken.
The Commission is in the perspective that local production will cease and EU production will be discouraged from development of the state-of-the-art technologies in the inexhaustible energy sector if they are put in front of a market based of discarded imports. Now’s decision ought to bring Europe’s energy industry to a level of self-sufficiency, because the unfair trades in solar panels does not back up environmental strategies and it does not match with a healthy worldwide solar industry.
Regarding the investigation
The Commission measured the direct of duty necessary to counteract the harmful effects of such disregards. This intends to adjust a strict minimal necessary action to restore a playing level field in the industrial solar production background of the EU with no retaliation. By administering such a conduct, of a ‘lesser duty rule’, the EU would go beyond its WTO obligation, action distinguished from those of other WTO members, like US and China, who always administer the full dumping found.
The Commission has completely evaluated the interest of all concerning parties by sending out questionnaires to a variety of related parties, like importers, upstream and downstream operators, exporters, Union manufacturers and their representative affiliations. By carrying out “Union interest test”, as in all investigations, the Commission considered on certain conditions that any possible negative responses to the measures would be prevailed by the economic boost for the Union manufacturers.
Any final measures would have to be inflicted in a period of 15 months after initiation, which is 5 December 2013. Meanwhile, debates regarding substitute forms of measures will be taken, a correspondent to the 47% duty. Both EU and WTO law give this achievability in the form of a cost engagement – an obligation not to sell below an agreed price.
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