Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Solar tariffs could push global trade in new directions

THAILAND: The European Commission’s announcement of antidumping duties on Chinese PV imports ups the stakes in the sector’s ongoing trade dispute, and opens the way for retaliatory Chinese tariffs.

In different quarters, the move has been heralded as a lifeline for Europe’s remaining PV industry, and derided as a possible nail in the coffin of the region’s polysilicon producers.

Given the risks that escalating trade measures pose for solar players in both markets, the possibility remains that some form of agreement will be reached in the coming months. Furthermore, the factor that has sparked most of the solar industry’s current woes – massive overcapacity – may also help to limit the impact of the current dispute on the global market.

EC ratchets up solar trade war
The latest furore to hit the global solar photovoltaic industry has been caused by the European Commission’s imposition of provisional anti-dumping duties on solar imports from China.

On June 5th, the Commission announced that it would set tariffs on Chinese PV, at an initial average of 11.7 percent, before raising these rates to an average 47 percent from August. Depending on the outcome of ongoing EC investigations, and of any negotiations with China, final duties will be imposed for a five-year term by December.

The provisional duties cover PV wafer, cell and module sales, and are therefore, more stringent than tariffs already imposed by the US on cells.

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