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Munich, Germany-based manufacturer Wacker Chemie has released a statement taking a firm stand against efforts to impose trade duties on Chinese-made solar modules in the European Union.
CEO, Rudolf Staudigl, said, “We are convinced that protectionist measures will not help the domestic solar industry, but rather impair the photovoltaic technology’s future prospects. The US Department of Commerce decided to impose tariffs of up to 250% on Chinese-made solar modules imported into the US.
“Some market participants are in favour of a similar move in the European Union, too. Experience would show, however, that trade barriers were not a suitable way of ensuring open and fair competition among the market’s participants. Differences of opinion about balanced competitive conditions could only be resolved through political dialogue. Imposing sanctions, in contrast, would only inhibit competition. They could provoke a trade war, which would end up being a disadvantage for every company in the solar industry.”
However, the solar trade war may be closer than many are expecting. As reported last week, four major Chinese solar companies have formed the Solar Energy Promotion Alliance (SEPA) to combat the US ruling.
Furthermore, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce is retaliating by launching investigation into six US renewable energy initiatives that it believes is flouting World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on subsidies and countervailing measures in addition to the 1994 GATT Agreement.
Staudigl added, “At the same time, the lion’s share of value added is always created by local businesses when setting up solar systems – regardless of where the solar modules are manufactured.
“Additional cost burdens from tariffs for imported photovoltaic modules would hold back the competiveness of solar power within the energy mix, impairing the switchover to renewable energy sources in Germany”, concluded Staudigl.
Moreover, Digitimes has today reported that an unnamed Europe-based polysilicon supplier is negotiating a partnership with China-based counterpart manufacturers.
The publication states that falling spot market prices falling to US$20-25/kg would lower production costs.
NB. PV-Tech has been advised that SEPA has adopted the same acronym as the Solar Electric Power Association based in the US. The US SEPA has been using this since 2000.