In 2013, the EU first implemented anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on Chinese solar panels. The EU curbs have been implemented for five years, and expired on September 3. Given the EU’s goal of increasing the supply of renewable energy, the failure of these measures is in the best interests of the EU.
The opening of the European market is definitely good news for photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturers in Europe and China. It will bring certain benefits to the domestic PV industry chain. The EU’s decision to lift the minimum import price restrictions on Chinese products may help promote the export of Chinese solar products to the EU market, cut the price of solar energy products in the EU, and stimulate demand.
As an important clean energy product, solar panels play a vital role in dealing with climate change and achieving emission reduction targets for countries around the world.
The original overseas solar energy production capacity cannot meet the strong demand of the European and American markets. If Chinese production capacity can be supplied to Europe, more overseas production capacity can be released to meet the needs of the U.S. market.
According to the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA), the EU market used to account for 90% of the country’s total exports of such products. In 2011, EU-related exports reached US$20.4 billion, but due to anti-dumping measures in 2013, China’s total PV exports to the EU markets in 2016 and 2017 were US$14 billion and US$14.53 billion respectively.
Wang Bohua, secretary-general of the CPIA, said that the decline in the price of PV products exported to the EU and the United States is a serious problem. China’s exported parts and components have lost competitiveness after being subjected to anti-dumping and countervailing duties. This is one of the reasons why the export volume of the EU and the United States continues to decline.
As the European markets tend to be conservative and stable, the end of EU restrictions will not affect this year’s demand. However, thanks to price cuts in 2019, demand in the European market will be higher than originally expected.
China’s PV product exports in the first quarter of this year increased by 25% year-on-year, which is the highest increase since 2012, according to CPIA data. Currently, India, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Pakistan are the major buyers of solar panels in China.
Today, taking steps to deal with climate change is more important than ever. China is willing to continue working with the EU to promote emissions reduction, climate adaptation and sustainable development, and promote global free trade and a rules-based multilateral trading system.