European companies lodge complaint against Chinese rivals
By Marie-Martine Buckens | Thursday 26 July 2012
Twenty-five European photovoltaic energy companies belonging to the EU ProSun group have lodged a complaint with the European Commission against their Chinese rivals for unfair competition, the German daily
Handelsblatt reported, on 26 July. Questioned the same day, the Commission spokesman declined to comment, saying simply that the executive has 45 days to determine whether a complaint is admissible.
The companies, which have been experiencing increasing difficulties since the start of the year, accuse Chinese firms like Suntech, Yingli and LDK Solar of resorting to dumping prices made possible due to disguised subsidies from the Chinese government, states
Handelsblatt. EU ProSun accuses Beijing of granting large loans to Chinese companies, enabling them to offer their products at below production cost in spite of massive losses, the group’s spokesman, Milan Nitzschke, told the German newspaper. The complainants are thought to have asked the EU to raise its tariff barriers, following the example of the United States, which last May imposed high taxes on Chinese imports. The German government has made it known that it will support all initiatives in Brussels by the industry.
The European subsidiary of Suntech pointed out that the company sources to a large extent in Europe. Jerry Strokes, president of Suntech Europe, told
AFPthat any further punitive tax could endanger thousands of jobs in the European solar industry. The Chinese authorities did not wait for the announcement of the complaint to accuse the European Commission of pursuing a policy that is discriminatory against Chinese enterprises (see
GERMANY’S PHOTOVOLTAIC BUBBLE
Thanks to massive aid and a resolute policy that establishes rates guaranteed for 20 years, the photovoltaic industry has boomed in Germany, multiplying its installed production capacity 20-fold in less than six years. With 24,000 MW of capacity in 2011, photovoltaic power provides 4% of Germany’s electricity needs. The Rhineland-Westphalia research institute RWI estimates at more than €100 billion the cumulative cost of support to the photovoltaic industry. As a result of the crisis, though, photovoltaic support schemes in Germany and elsewhere in the EU are drying up. Like their international competitors, German manufacturers are victims of a crisis of global overproduction that has led to a collapse of prices for all companies, even in China.
The executive has 45 days to determine whether a complaint is admissible