Solar Power Portal can confirm the European Commission is planning to impose between 37.2% and 67.9% tariffs on Chinese solar module manufacturers.
A commission source has revealed that over 100 Chinese companies have been involved in this investigation. Those that have cooperated will be given the lower tariffs and those that did not will be in the higher band, with levies averaging 47.6%.
The Association for Affordable Solar, which has been lobbying the Commission against imposing tariffs, said the development was “extremely worrying” citing the report by Prognos earlier this year which said levies would cost Europe €27.8 billion.
Andrea Maibaum, AFASE spokesperson told Solar Power Portal: “The Prognos study is the only solid economic research that has been undertaken so far to analyse the impact of duties on the PV value chain. The Prognos study is based on conservative calculations and takes the specifics of the solar market into account.
“Punitive tariffs will cost far more jobs than they save and won't help to solve the structural problems of European manufacturers. In addition they are not in line with the EUs energy policy.”
However, the EU source said the Prognos report “overestimates” the job losses the European solar industry could face with the imposition of tariffs. What the Prognos report fails to take into account, said the source, is that “the EU industry risks to completely disappear without the introduction of measures”.
“It should also be noted that the evolution of jobs overall is in fact closely linked to the evolution of demand,” the source added.
The Commission, having made its decision, now awaits the results of a consultation with member states before the tariffs are published in the Official Journal of the European Union in June.
The source said: “What we need to underline here is this is a legal investigation based upon the facts and on the evidence presented.”
A spokesman for EU ProSun, the body that initially lodged the complaint against Chinese manufacturers, said the organisation would await official written confirmation from the commission before making further comment.
Solar Power Portal was unable to reach the Chinese government representatives in Brussels for comment on the likely levies. Some reports have suggested a negotiated settlement between the EU and Chinese government is still on the table, given China's importance to Europe as a trading partner.
(Additional reporting Julia Chan and Ben Willis)