ReneSola to withdraw from EU-China price deal

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ReneSola has confirmed it is to exit the minimum import price (MIP) undertaking between China and the European Union.

Reasons for the decision to withdraw from the agreement are detailed in a letter sent out to customers from company chief executive, Xianshou Li.

At the end of last week, the European Commission released an internal document stating that three Chinese companies faced being excluded from the MIP for apparently breaching the rules of the deal. Canadian Solar and ET Solar were the other two companies named in the document.

Canadian Solar and ET Solar have both released statements protesting their innocence and offering full cooperation with the commission's investigation.

But is has now emerged that ReneSola is to exit the MIP. The MIP is the price at which Chinese companies have agreed to sell product into European markets to avoid having to pay the 47% duty imposed by the commission.

According to details obtained by PV Tech, which are to be confirmed in a statement later today, the commission first notified ReneSola as early as last October of issues it had with the company’s use of an overseas original equipment manufacturer (OEM) network to manufacture equipment that falls outside of the undertaking.

“In this notification, they stipulated that MIP companies could not to [sic] sell overseas OEM modules to the EU, as it is impractical and difficult to monitor. As a consequence we made a hard but sensible decision to exit from MIP list,” the CEO’s letter stated.

The letter is vague on what ReneSola’s decision to quit the MIP means for the company’s future European operation.

“Following our exit from MIP, our primary focus will be on our OEM manufacturing, improving quality, performance and cost. As we will no longer be subject to the EU Commission's review, customers will not be implicated in any investigation by the EU Commission regarding the purchase of our products. As a result, we are able to reduce unnecessary inconveniences and uncertainty to ensure that the best interests of our customers are foremost, and that we can align in a way which creates better cooperation and healthier global trading conditions,” it stated.

This does not address directly the question of whether the company will be able to continue competing in Europe, given that its withdrawal from the MIP arrangement presumably exposes it to the 47% duty enforced by the EU on Chinese solar imports.

But in a separate statement to PV Tech, Ian Glover, ReneSola's UK general manager, said the company's intention was to continue to supply European customers exclusively through its OEM network.

“Our position as a supplier to the European marketplace will be stable. We will supply modules from OEM production which will not be affected by the regulations regarding MIP. No modules regulated by this condition will be supplied into the EU. As you will see from our customer statement, our capacity to supply more than 600MW of non MIP modules in 2014 to the EU demonstrates that our capacity is very robust. Our future in the European market is very healthy,” he said.

ReneSola said it sold 800MW of PV modules in Europe last year, giving it a 15% market share.

This story was updated from its original version to include additional comment from ReneSola clarifying its future position in Europe.

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