EU eases solar restrictions

By Yu Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/17 22:18:39

Reduced import prices still too high: experts

The EU will gradually reduce the minimum import price for EU-bound Chinese solar panels, which is good for Chinese exporting solar firms, an insider from the China Photovoltaic Industry Association said on Thursday.

But only when the EU puts an end to punitive duties imposed on Chinese solar panels will domestic exporting solar firms be able to get their due benefits, the insider, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The EU will gradually reduce the minimum import price for solar panels from China by over 20 percent within a year, based on the European Commission's draft plans, according to a note the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) posted on its website on Thursday, citing a report from Mlex, a UK-based independent media organization.

The minimum import price for solar cells will drop by more than 10 percent, said the note.

Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties have been in place on Chinese solar panels and cells by the EU since 2013. In March 2017, these duties in the EU got an 18-month extension, albeit along with plans to gradually phase them out.

Meanwhile, the EU has been under pressure to re-adjust the minimum import price, according to MOFCOM.

The EU's trade defense measures force Chinese exporting solar firms to sell products at a price at or above a minimum import price set by the EU, "which partly effects the exporting business of the solar firms," Zhang Sen, secretary-general of the Solar Energy and PV Products Branch of the Beijing-based China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Based on the new pricing system, the minimum price of polycrystalline modules will be reduced to 33 euro cents per watt from the original 41 cents per watt, according to the note.

The European Commission hopes the new pricing system will be approved by member countries by the end of September 2017.

But generally, the planned minimum price by the EU is still very high, Zhang noted.

Some parties in Europe have already disputed the price adjustment, with some EU solar panel producers arguing that the reduced minimum price is too low, according to the note.

However, European solar association SolarPower Europe said that the minimum price is still too high, and that it will slow down investment in the European solar sector, according to the MOFCOM note.

SolarPower Europe hopes its downstream firms could have the opportunity to buy low-priced Chinese solar products in order to cut costs, noted Zhang.

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