In the Official Journal of the EU, the Commission announced that the anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties on solar modules made of crystalline silicon and key components thereof (cells) originating in China expired without extension on 3 September 2018. According to press reports, the majority of EU Member States in Brussels were against re-examining the need for these measures. This is expected to have an impact on the entire European solar industry.
No anti-dumping duties on solar modules since 03 September
The European Union has been imposing anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese solar modules since 2013. These measures have expired since 3 September 2018. This means that cheap solar modules could now again be imported from China, the price of which is lower than the minimum price regulation.
Bad news for ailing industry
The background to these measures was the tense market situation at the time. The EU wanted the measures to prevent European solar module manufacturers and suppliers from entering an even greater competition with Chinese suppliers. Five years ago, Chinese prices drove German companies into insolvency. Despite these measures, however, the industry recovered only slowly overall. Thus, for example, the German solar industry was only able to grow again at a low level last year.
Effects still uncertain
There is still no agreement on the real fear of the effects of the expiry of the measures. While EU ProSun is concerned about the expiry of the measures and has requested a review of the current anti-dumping duties in Brussels, several companies are even considering the possibility of taking legal action against the Member States’ decision. The Solar Power Europe association, on the other hand, is looking forward to the end of the measures and sees opportunities in this for the industry. The association estimates that the expiry of tariffs could increase demand for solar modules by up to 30%.
Whether the growth prospects for European solar groups will actually deteriorate even further remains to be seen. European entrepreneurs should in any case keep an eye on current developments.