Solar Companies Call on European Commission to Resist Protectionism in the Sector

Sep 13th, 2012 | By | Category: Articles, Featured Posts, Press/News Releases

The Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE) is calling on the European Commission to uphold free trade in order to secure jobs in the European solar sector and support further industry growth and progress. With this call for open markets AFASE is reacting on the Notice of Initiation of an anti-dumping proceeding concerning Chinese solar products the European Commission has published today. Several European solar manufacturers had filed an antidumping complaint at the EU end of July.

“Free trade was one of the factors that enabled the European solar industry to become a fast growing sector. At a time when European governments are scaling back their subsidies for solar energy, trade barriers would push up costs and damage, possibly beyond repair, the competitiveness of solar power”, says Thorsten Preugschas, CEO of the German operating project development company and AFASE affiliate Soventix. “Therefore, we call on the EU Commission to bear in mind the severe damage punitive tariffs would bring to the whole European photovoltaic sector.”

Increased cost-efficiency has been one of the key drivers behind the success of the European PV sector, bringing PV close to grid parity in several countries – to the benefit of consumers, the economy and the environment. Trade barriers leading to cost increases would have a deleterious impact especially on small and medium-sized solar enterprises in Europe and would destroy thousands of jobs both upstream and downstream in the solar industry. “Our sector employs about 300,000 people in Europe. Raw material suppliers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, logistic suppliers, construction companies, installers and maintenance providers would all suffer from a misguided attempt to protect a few manufacturers that are just a small part of the value chain”, comments Giulio Arletti, CEO of the AFASE affiliate Coenergia, an Italian distributor of photovoltaic modules.

AFASE also expresses its concern about the growing danger of a trade war between Europe and China. “Moves towards economic protectionism are short-sighted, not just in the solar sector but elsewhere, too”, says Thorsten Preugschas. “They severely endanger the global business climate and economic growth. We therefore welcome German chancellor Angela Merkel’s call made on occasion of her state visit to China to deal with the dispute in the solar sector jointly through dialogue rather than legal procedures.”

Source: Press release AFASE, o6.09.2012


Milan Nitzschke (C), President of EU ProSun, an industry association, speaks during a press conference in Brussels, capital of Belgium, Sept. 6, 2012. European Commission filed an antidumping investigation over Chinese photovoltaic (PV) products Thursday. The case is the largest trade dispute involving China in terms of trade volume, as the country’s solar product exports were valued at 35.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, with the EU receiving a share of more than 60 percent, or 20.4 billion U.S. dollars.[Xinhua]







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