Has the solar trade dispute between China and Europe crossed a line?
According to The Guardian, recent proposals from Brussels which would impose tariffs on solar panels that are imported from China have resulted in controversy -- with over 1,000 registering their displeasure at the idea.
After European manufacturers lodged complaints with the European Commission, arguing that state-subsidies in China were making competing more difficult, the EC launched an investigation against Chinese solar manufacturers. As a result, it is possible that the Commission may impose tariffs on products imported from China to level the playing field.
While U.S. and European solar panel manufacturers may rub their hands in glee at the idea, installers and purchasers are not as happy -- as imposed tariffs are likely to drive the price of solar panels up.
The suggested protectionist measures may not be a suitable reaction to Chinese competition. Instead, companies argue that over-capacity in the global market is the real issue, rather than cheap-and-cheerful solar panels imported from the Asian country.
A letter has been sent by the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE) to European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht documenting these concerns. The AFASE is a coalition of hundreds of companies against import tariffs, and promoted the signatures of 1,024 companies.
The letter warns that "the imposition of anti-dumping and/or countervailing duties will severely hamper the growth of solar energy in the EU to the detriment of the entire EU solar PV value chain and without significant positive effect for the EU solar producers." In addition, tariffs imposed on China will damage the industry, which is already fighting for survival, and "imposing additional duties is in blatant contradiction with the decrease in costs that is needed for the industry to survive."
Via: The Guardian
Image credit: Jonathan Kos-Read
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com