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May 20, 2022
BUSINESS

Proposed solar duties could severely hurt EU industry

The European Commission announced the imposition of provisional duties of 11.8 per cent on all Chinese origin wafers, cells and modules starting from June 6. These duties will automatically go up to 47.6 per cent on average after two months if no negotiated solution is in place.
The Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy e.V. (AFASE) regrets the Commission’s decision to ignore the considered positions of 18 out of 27 member states voting against duties, based on all the facts available to them, according to a press release. Even though the Commission has set the preliminary duties lower than expected for the initial two months, AFASE stresses that any level of tariffs will seriously damage the European solar industry.
The decision to impose duties was taken despite warnings from hundreds of European solar companies, 15 European photovoltaic associations, various trade associations such as the Federation of German Industry (BDI) and the German Federation of Wholesale and Foreign Trade (BGA), the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) as well as many experts. All have spoken out publicly against duties, arguing that these will harm not only the European solar industry, but the European economy as a whole. “The decision of the Commission gives the EU and China only a short time span to find a negotiation solution. We call on both parties to come to an agreement within the next two months that avoids price increases, taking into account the interests of the EU upstream and downstream solar industry,” says Thorsten Preugschas, CEO of German Soventix GmbH and Chairman of AFASE e.V. “We need to be clear about one thing: The current market development leaves no room for price increases. Therefore already duties as low as 11.8 percent will put a halt to most of the PV projects in the EU and cause severe damage to the European solar value chain.”
The impact of duties has been highlighted by industry participants and by the independent economic research institute Prognos which concludes that duties of 20 per cent would cost the European economy up to 175,500 jobs and EUR 18.4 bln of value added over the next three years. The leading provider of global market and economic information IHS illustrates that duties of 45 per cent could reduce the German market alone by nearly 2 GW, i.e. more than 25 per cent of the capacity installed in Germany in 2012.
Duties also contradict the EU´s policy to stimulate the growth of renewable energy in order to achieve the ambitious EU 2020 goals. Member States will take the final decision whether to impose definitive duties in December 2013.

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