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Sturdy: EU solar panels duties are a really dim idea

8 May 2013

Sturdy: EU solar panels duties are a really dim idea

An eye-watering EU duty of 47 percent on solar panels from China, proposed today, puts thousands of jobs at risk in Europe, whilst pushing prices of solar panels through the roof, Robert Sturdy MEP, Conservative trade spokesman and Vice-President of the European Parliament’s International Trade committee, said today.

An eye-watering EU duty of 47 percent on solar panels from China, proposed today, puts thousands of jobs at risk in Europe, whilst pushing prices of solar panels through the roof, Robert Sturdy MEP, Conservative trade spokesman and Vice-President of the European Parliament’s International Trade committee, said today.

The duties represent the most significant EU anti-dumping response, with China exported solar panels and their components being worth around €21 billion to the EU. The EU responded to a complaint by an industry association called EU ProSun, which claimed that the solar panels from China were being ‘dumped’ (they were entering European markets at prices cheaper than their market value).

However, Mr Sturdy said that anti-dumping cases must always consider the wider interests of the EU, and in this case such duties will do far more harm than good, costing jobs, forcing up prices for consumers, running contrary to EU environmental policy, and damaging the trading relationship with China. He is calling on national governments to reject the proposal.

The trade spokesman for the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament, said:

“This is a really dim idea from the European Commission. The commission has failed to take into account the much wider implications of these duties on companies that import and install solar panels, and their customers who will have to pay much more.

“The European Union wants to promote renewable energy but then imposes a massive duty on solar panels. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

“This decision will have wide ramifications for our trading relationship with China. Such a significant and punitive duty surely will not go unnoticed or unpunished by Beijing.

“EU trade policy needs to stop putting parochial interests first and start to look at the wider picture. Trade defence is based on strict criteria, but not on basic common sense and consideration of the consequences of these actions on the wider EU economy.

“EU trade interests, consumers and businesses will be hit hard by this decision. The Commission needs to look at this in a different light.”

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