EU Commission finds 11 per cent subsidies in Chinese PV modules

Photo: Picture Alliance
Photo: Picture Alliance

Thanks to reduced electricity prices, discounted raw materials, marketing subsidies, tax breaks and subsidised loans from the State Bank, Chinese manufacturers of photovoltaic modules can sell their products 11 per cent cheaper on the European market. This is a violation of WTO rules on free world trade. This is the conclusion that the EU Commission reached in its nine-month investigation, which was part of the anti-subsidy proceedings against China. The results of the investigations were handed over today to the government in Beijing and to the Chinese companies involved.

The Commission will, however, take no further steps against Chinese solar imports as a consequence of these results, after having previously reached an agreement on minimum prices for imported modules and an upper limit for total module imports from China. By December, however, the governments of the EU Member States will need to decide whether they want to support the agreement, which is intended to be valid until 2015.

The European industrial initiative EU ProSun sees their accusations confirmed by the findings that were published today. In a press release, EU ProSun President Milan Nitzschke made the following statement about the Commission's results:

"The cheap prices that Chinese suppliers are able to achieve, which threaten German and European jobs, are not the result of technological strength, but are solely the product of Chinese government financing." It is remarkable that Chinese manufacturers are still making a loss, despite the billions in subsidies. But even the losses are cushioned by government loans.

EU ProSun criticises that the findings of the Commission have not been followed by actions. Earlier this month, the Commission stated that it had reached an agreement with China to suspend customs measures and instead to accept voluntary minimum prices for China's solar exports. Nitzschke: "China breaks WTO rules wherever it can, and Mrs Merkel and Mr Barroso just nod."

Volker Buddensiek

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