Anti-dumping complaint against China filed with the European Commission
Solar glass is one of the raw materials used to produce PV modules and manufacturers have launched a complaint against Chinese dumping with the European Commission which EU ProSun is supporting. Nearly 90% of solar glass imported into Europe is manufactured in China with disastrous effects for European jobs and manufacturing. The announcement by EU ProSun follows the launch of an EU investigation into dumping by Chinese companies who are selling modules, cells and wafers below the cost of production.
“The new case shows that China’s strategy to dominate the solar sector is not limited to just solar modules but also affects materials like glass” said Milan Nitzschke, President of EU ProSun. “It’s only a question of time when equipment and raw material manufacturers will follow.”
China established an aggressive strategy in its 5-year plan to take over the global solar market which includes polysilicon, equipment and solar glass. An extract from the plan, quoted by EU ProSun on its website reads:
“Support will be provided to major enterprises to grow stronger so that by 2015, leading polysilicon enterprises will reach 50,000 metric tons per year, and major enterprises will reach 10,000 metric tons per year; leading solar cell enterprises will reach the 5GW level, and major enterprises will reach the 1GW level. By 2015, in China there will be one PV enterprise with annual sales revenue exceeding RMB 100 billion, 3-5 PV enterprises with annual sales revenue exceeding RMB 50 billion, and 3-4 enterprises specializing in PV equipment manufacturing with annual sales revenue exceeding RMB 1 billion”
(Source: People’s Republic of China 12th Five-Year Plan for the Solar Photovoltaic Industry 2011)
According to Matthias Fawer, Director of Asset Management Sustainability Research at Bank Sarasin, Chinese and Taiwanese companies have increased production of solar PV equipment by 120 percent over the last four years compared to 40 percent for German and Japanese companies.China has effectively amassed production capacity that is more than 20 times greater than domestic demand, resulting in more than 90% of Chinese solar production being exported overseas. This has often meant bankruptcy for EU solar manufacturers and the subsequent destruction of the EU solar industry. EU ProSun has responded to this threat by calling on the EU to impose trade defence measures on EU imports of Chinese solar equipment as soon as possible.
The US has identified at least 10 categories of Chinese subsidy for its manufacturers as illegal with Chinese exporters being able to sell solar cells in the USA at margins ranging between 30 percent and 250 percent. The US has already taken action with the imposition of specific anti-dumping tariffs and the EU may very well follow with its own tariff. Ironically the US action has made it even more likely that Chinese exporters will try to divert their products to the EU.
EU ProSun Glass and EU ProSun are separate initiatives with different corporate supporters but they are unified in a common goal to restore fair competition with Chinese producers on the EU market. They have called on the EU to launch an investigation with a view to stopping unfair Chinese trade practices via the EU market.