We have previously commented on the European Union looking into the potential benefits that solar panel manufacturers in China may have had when exporting solar panels into European Union countries. It was the view of some that they may have received illegal government subsidies and sold some panels at below cost.
Well, there is a rumour that Karel De Gucht, who is the European Union’s trade commissioner, is about to recommend that provisional duties of around 40% are imposed on solar panel manufacturers in China as they have not acted appropriately. If this were the case then it will no doubt cause some considerable concern with the Chinese government in Beijing and also within the solar panel industry in Europe where opinions appear to be divided as to the best way to deal with such a situation.
SolarWorld, who are a leading manufacturer of solar panels in Germany, were at the forefront of the complaint. They have recently been in discussions with their creditors to renegotiate their liabilities having lost 500 million euros during last year. If the above levy were imposed it will no doubt come as a positive move from their perspective.
However, there are a number of European companies that would be concerned if such a levy were introduced as they feel that it could cost many jobs to be lost in the industry.
It should be noted that Mr De Gucht would require any proposals to be ratified by the full commission and that could, potentially, be as soon as sometime this week or next.
Should a provisional levy be imposed, no changes could be made to what is temporarily put in place until the full investigation is concluded and that may not be for a number of months.
We shall continue to provide an update should anything of significance be announced.