Business World

Friday 23 March 2018

China’s solar firms warn of trade war with EU

Michael Martina

CHINA’S solar companies warned of a trade war today, calling on the Chinese government to strike back against an anti-dumping complaint filed by European competitors.

Raising the stakes in continuing disputes within the industry, companies led by Germany's SolarWorld on Wednesday asked the European Union to investigate claims that Chinese rivals had been selling their products below market value in Europe.

SolarWorld confirmed on Thursday the submission by the so-called EU ProSun group, which comprises 25 members in Germany, Spain, Italy and other EU countries. German solar module maker Sovello is also part of the initiative.

A similar initiative was spearheaded by SolarWorld in theUnited States, leading the world's largest economy to impose in May duties of about 31pc on solar panel imports fromChina.

"If the EU were to follow the precedent of the U.S. and launch an anti-dumping investigation on Chinese solar products, the Chinese solar industry would suffer a fatal blow," Yingli Solar's chief strategy officer, Wang Yiyu, said.

"The investigation would also trigger a wholescale trade war between China and the EU, which would cause huge losses to both parties," he said at a briefing by leading Chinese solar companies Yingli, SunTech, Trina and Canadian Solar.

"We call on the Chinese government to take all necessary and resolute measures to protect the legitimate interests of the Chinese solar industry."

Western solar companies have been at odds with their Chinese counterparts for years, alleging that they receive lavish credit lines to offer modules at cheaper prices, while European players struggle to refinance.

Close to 60 percent of China's solar exports, worth $35.8bn, were shipped to the EU in 2011, the four Chinese companies said.

Europe accounted for 74pc of global solar installations in 2011, according to industry association EPIA.

The European Commision has 45 days to decide if it will start an investigation.



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