Exclusive: STA opposes EU solar duties

  • The Solar Trade Association is to oppose the implementation of any European trade duties on Chinese solar products. Image: Suntech.

    The Solar Trade Association is to oppose the implementation of any European trade duties on Chinese solar products. Image: Suntech.

The Solar Trade Association is to oppose the implementation of any European trade duties on Chinese solar products.

The announcement is a reaction to the current anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations being undertaken by the European Commission. 

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Paul Barwell, Chief Executive of the STA said: “The STA does not support any form of duties on wafers, cells or modules as a result of the ongoing EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations.

“We believe in an open market for the solar industry and feel that the uncertainty created by these investigations is detrimental to the stability and growth of the UK market.

“Furthermore, the archaic approach to pre-registration of all Chinese imports which 'might' be subject to retroactive duties will create unnecessary uncertainty for the UK PV industry just at a time when our market is showing signs of growth.”

Barwell acknowledged that the EU investigation is a divisive issue for the solar industry, stating: “We acknowledge that some of our members would not be affected negatively by this investigation, but feel for our membership as a whole, and for the overall benefit of the UK solar industry, that any form of uncertainty for even a month could negatively impact our manufacturers, distributors and installers.”

As reported earlier by Solar Power Portal, a number of UK solar industry members have already felt the effect of the pre-registration ruling, resulting in a number of cancelled orders.

Barwell added: “Jobs are at risk, businesses are at risk. The UK needs stability. We will be supporting the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE).” AFASE is the body opposing European trade action against China.

A recent study into the potential impact of EU anti-dumping measures by Swiss analysts Prognos and commissioned by AFASE calculated that the UK would be hardest hit by any  duties – potentially costing the UK economy £3.46 billion and resulting 38,600 job losses.

The EC will announce in early June whether to apply provisional anti-dumping duties and by early August on whether to impose preliminary countervailing levies.

Any potential duties would apply for five years, and if tariffs are imposed, they could be collected 90 days retroactively, therefore from March 2013.

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