British and European consumers could face the prospect of paying more for solar panels, after Brussels bureaucrats reopened a probe into the Chinese solar power industry.
The investigation follows claims that Chinese companies are exporting their products via Taiwan and Malaysia to evade EU import duties. Investigating officials will attempt to discover whether Taiwanese and Malaysian companies are true producers of solar power products – or as has been alleged – are simply ‘shell companies’ for Chinese manufacturers. If the allegations are proven to be correct, the European Commission could impose additional duties on these Chinese manufactured panels – increasing the cost to UK and European consumers, as well as potentially reopening a long running trade dispute between Beijing and Brussels.
The investigation was welcomed by lobby group EU ProSun, which claims to represent the interests of European solar panel manufacturers.
Milan Nitzschke, President of EU ProSun says, “Chinese solar manufacturers circumvent the EU’s anti-dumping measures by first exporting to third countries like Malaysia and Taiwan before they are imported into the EU, thereby falsifying their genuine origin. Such circumvention is customs fraud and must be stopped.”
According to the lobby group, Chinese dumping is damaging the European solar panel manufacturing industry, to the point whereby some EU producers have been forced to shut up shop. Additionally, EU Pro Sun estimates the alleged fraud is costing the EU and national member states €500 million in lost customs revenue – albeit lost revenue can still be collected retrospectively.
Allaying fears that the investigation could affect genuine Malaysian and Taiwanese producers, Mr. Nitzschke said, “EU measures should stop Chinese dumping and circumvention via third countries, not legitimate solar production from countries such as Taiwan and Malaysia which will continue to be imported duty free into the EU.”
“Companies whose products are normally manufactured in Taiwan and Malaysia, are invited to make themselves known to the European Commission by a deadline of early July, and to request an exemption from additional tariffs.”