Solar Trade Wars

  • US and Chinese Flag

International solar trade disagreements have become almost a fact of life now for what is a rapidly globalising industry.

In 2012 the US imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese PV imports. Then in 2013, the European Union joined the party, initiating anti-dumping duties of its own against Chinese companies, but deferring the imposition of them subject to undertakings by the Chinese not to sell below a minimum or above an annual quota.

In June 2014, the two cases blew up again when the US government upheld a petition by SolarWorld Americas, the US arm of the eponymous German PV manufacturer, and imposed fresh preliminary anti-subsidies on Chinese companies for apparently exploiting a loophole that allowed them to evade import duties

And then just days later, EU ProSun, a body also set up by SolarWorld claiming to have amassed evidence suggesting Chinese governments are flouting last year’s EU price agreement. That evidence, now submitted to the European commission, has the potential to reopen the dispute.

And alongside these two high-profile cases, a number of other countries, including India, Japan, Canada and Australia are embroiled in various trade disputes over solar imports and exports. One observer described them as “background noise” to the industry, and not loud enough to prevent companies from doing business. But they are almost certain to remain a reality for the industry for the foreseeable future.

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