ECN publication
NRG Magazine - Rational Middle: Are increased taxes on imports of Chines solar panels beneficial for the European solar market?
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Solar Energy 30-7-2013
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-O--13-036 Other
Number of pages: Full text:
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On June 4th 2013, the European Commission decided to impose provisional anti-dumping duties on the Chinese solar panels, cells and wafers imported in the European Union. What brought this on? China was accused by the Commission of “undercutting European rivals by selling panels below cost and threatening 25,000 jobs in the European solar industry” (, June 4th 2013). Starting with August 2013, the tax would be set at 47.6% (, press release on June 4th 2013). Germany would suffer the most at the hand of these dumping prices, since many of the main European manufacturers of photovoltaics (PVs) come from this country along with 15,000 jobs in the industry (, Global Edition, Business, July 28th 2013). Nevertheless, the German government and China opposed the tax raise (id., July 28th 2013). At this point we had to ask ourselves if this tax will truly help the European solar market. Answering this question was not that easy, which is why we approached two top energy experts to formulate a balanced answer for this edition’s Rational Middle section - Prof. Dr. Wim C. Sinke from ECN and Prof. Dr. Anton J.M. Schoot Uiterkamp from the University of Groningen. You can read what they thought about the situation in the next pages. But the story is not over here. In the last weekend of July 2013, the tax dispute seemed to find a resolution when the EU and China agreed to set “a fairly high minimum price” (0.55 to 0.57 euros) for sales of Chinese solar panels in the EU (id., July 27th 2013). The next day, EU ProSun, the industry coalition that pushed for the sanctioning of dumping prices in the first place, threatened to sue the European Commission for settling the prices at such low levels (id., July 28th 2013). While our two Rational Middle experts help us grasp the complexities of the situation, the Chinese solar panel story is TO BE CONTINUED…

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