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Response to the European Commission’s anti-dumping investigation of solar modules and products imported into the EU from key Chinese producers was rapid and unanimous in condemnation of the action but also conciliatory in confirming their willingness to co-operate fully with the investigation.
Canadian Solar, Suntech Power, Trina Solar and Yingli Green issued statements aimed at highlighting potential ‘protectionist measures,’ while reiterating their innocence of dumping.
As with the investigation by the US Commerce Department into anti-dumping charges, brought forward by SolarWorld and several other companies, key Chinese producers provided information to the enquiry, though many others were said not to have done so.
"Our industry's mission is to make solar affordable for everyone and we are concerned that trade barriers will only delay the industry from fulfilling this," said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer. "As a global solar company listed on the NYSE, we are well-prepared to substantiate our strict adherence to fair international trade practices. We are currently reviewing the notice of initiation, and will cooperate fully with the European Commission in its investigation."
"Protectionist measures would increase the cost of solar energy in Europe, and adversely affect European jobs in the solar industry. We stand together with the majority of European and global companies in the solar industry in supporting free trade. Until the issue is resolved, we will continue to work with our customers and partners to ensure business as usual," added Dr. Shi.
Yingli Green echoed Suntech’s positioning but also urged the European Commission to ‘halt protectionism.’
"We will closely cooperate with the European Commission in order to prove that the conditions for the imposition of punitive tariffs are not fulfilled. Regardless of misleading claims, we remain focused on producing competitive, high-quality products based on our investments in research and development. As a NYSE-listed company with a worldwide presence, we constantly meet the highest standards of international trade practices. We are fully transparent with our funding sources and cost structure," said Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy.
"The solar industry is based on a global and complex value chain, and will be therefore substantially and negatively affected by trade protectionism. There would be no winners but rather immeasurable damage and regression from our fundamental goal of making solar a cost-effective energy source available to everyone. In addition, such actions would significantly delay the onset of a sustainable solar electricity market free of government support," added Darren Thompson, Managing Director, Yingli Green Energy Europe.
"Trina Solar products are neither dumped nor subsidized. They are produced, and sold competitively on the European market. We believe the trade investigation will reveal that Trina Solar competes fairly with its competitors in the European Union," said Chairman and CEO, Jifan Gao.
"We are cooperating with the European Commission to ensure it receives all required information to arrive at a balanced and fair conclusion. Additionally, we welcome Chancellor Merkel's constructive approach to a dialogue and are ready to participate in any dialogue which may be initiated," added Ben Hill, President of Trina Solar Europe.
However, Gregory E. Spanoudakis, President of European Operations of Canadian Solar also raised the issue of being in the common interest of the EU in potentially imposing duties, especially in consideration of renewable energy targets for the region.
“We are not dumping. As a company with a global presence, we will continue to demonstrate our adherence to fair international trade practices. We are NASDAQ-listed and fully transparent with regards to our costs of production, which are audited by one of the big-four international auditors and disclosed publicly every quarter,” commented Gregory E. Spanoudakis, President of European Operations.
“We hope that the European Commission will recognize that punitive tariffs on our solar products are neither in the interest of the European solar industry nor in the interest of the European Union. The majority of the industry would be the losers of an initiative driven by only a few sector representatives pursuing narrow individual interests,” added Spanoudakis.
While Jigar Shah, President of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), which orchestrated opposition to the US anti-dumping case highlighted that major PV US and EU-based trade associations, such as SEIA, EPIA, and SEMI had all stated previously that they supported a constructive resolution to global solar trade issues, rather than through legal proceedings.
“Unfortunately, as a result of SolarWorld’s actions, the Chinese government is now pursuing a trade case against US manufacturers of polysilicon, with additional rumblings in other countries like India placing US jobs and capital investments at risk. The last thing the US and European solar industries need is the further escalation of a trade war in which there will be no winners. A solar trade war is bad for the American solar industry, bad for American jobs, bad for American consumers and bad for the global environment,” Shah said in a statement.
Chinese tier-1 module producer, JinkoSolar also issues a statement after the anti-dumping investigation within the EU was announced by the European Commission. The company reiterated what other firms had said that the claims are ‘unfair and unfounded,’ yet would co-operate with the investigation.
"JinkoSolar, as one of the leading photovoltaic manufacturers in the industry, will actively cooperate with the European Commission's investigation. The company will continue expanding into emerging markets, including China, South Africa, India and Australia to alleviate possible impacts that could result from the potential trade friction," said Xiande Li, JinkoSolar's Chairman.
"JinkoSolar will keep committed to deliver the demand requested of our high quality solar modules to the European customers in main PV markets with the good service of our local teams from our different offices in Europe and the local logistics services," added Arturo Herrero, Chief Marketing Officer.