Image credit: Flickr/Luke Price
The European Commission has handed down anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties of 53.4% and 11.5% to Malaysian and Taiwanese firms that enable Chinese solar products to dodge existing trade laws.
An anti-circumvention investigation by the commission has found that while the vast majority of producers in both countries were legitimate, there was some evidence of transhipment, fraudulent invoices on components and laminated modules being imported as cells. Some companies claiming to be manufacturers were found not to have any production facilities.
Ultimately, however, the impact of circumvention appears not to have been dominant, with modules imported to Europe from Malaysian companies operating outwith the rules at 9% and 7% for Taiwan as a proportion of total consumption in the EU.
The investigation’s found a shift in the pattern of trade in the wake of European trade duties on Chinese products with the increase in imports of Chinese products matched closely by an increase in exports to Europe.
The European Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF, has ongoing investigations into solar exports from Malaysia and Taiwan.
The anti-circumvention investigation was requested by SolarWorld in May of 2015. SolarWorld VP Milan Nitzschke said: "We had sufficient evidence of a change in the pattern of trade and it was necessary to request the investigation. These results show there is still a criminal element within the solar industry. We have said many times that we have no issue with genuine, legitimate producers in Malaysia and Taiwan but we have seen there are still many trying to cheat the rules and their customers."
Responding to today’s commission ruling, James Watson, CEO of trade body SolarPower Europe, said: “Ultimately the commission has found that circumvention did take place at a low level, we believe that those companies circumventing should be punished accordingly. However, removing the measures from modules and cells from China is the answer to this problem, which would allow consumers in Europe to access the best modules at the best prices.
“In terms of the future we encourage the commission to bring the expiry review to a quick conclusion and end the measures in place, extending them to other countries will simply exacerbate the slow growth of solar in Europe today. This is counterproductive to the great principles we have signed up to in Paris just days ago,” added Watson.
The following companies are exempted from the new measures:
AUO - SunPower Sdn. Bhd.
Flextronics Shah Alam SDN. BHD
Hanwha Q CELLS Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.
Panasonic Energy Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.
TS Solartech Sdn. Bhd.
ANJI Technology Co., Ltd.
AU Optronics Corporation
Big Sun Energy Technology Inc.
E-TON Solar Tech. Co., Ltd.
Gintech Energy Corporation
Gintung Energy Corporation
Inventec Energy Corporation
Inventec Solar Energy Corporation
LOF Solar Corp.
Ming Hwei Energy Co., Ltd.
Motech Industries, Inc.
Neo Solar Power Corporation
Perfect Source Technology Corp.
Sino-American Silicon Products Inc.
Solartech Energy Corp.
Sunengine Corporation Ltd.
Topcell International Co.,
Win Win Precision Technology Co., Ltd.