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September 5, 2018

How Trump just accidentally helped boost European renewables

 

The European Commission has announced it will end punitive tariffs on solar panels imported from China, five years after they were put into place.

The EU accused China in 2013 of ‘dumping’ their solar panels into the European market, selling them at artificially low prices in order to shut down European competition. Brussels set minimum import duties on the solar modules and cells which priced them up to 30% above market levels. The Commission announced on Friday it will end those tariffs, from today.

The European tariffs will end just as identical tariffs in the U.S. are beginning. Early this year, U.S. President Donald Trump set a roughly equivalent import duty on Chinese solar modules and cells, to counteract alleged dumping.

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But in a rebuke to Washington, the European Commission said on Friday it has decided that “it is in the best interests of the EU as a whole to let the measures lapse.”

“This decision also takes into account the EU’s new renewable energy targets,” the Commission added.

The move has been warmly welcomed by the European solar power companies. “This is a watershed moment for the European solar industry,” says Christian Westermeier, president of the Brussels-based industry association SolarPower Europe. “By removing the trade duties, the European Commission has today lifted the single biggest barrier to solar growth in Europe.”

“The trade measures have made solar much more expensive than necessary in Europe , by removing them, solar will now be cheapest form of electricity in many EU countries – this means that many more consumers and national governments will be able to invest in solar,” added James Watson, the group’s CEO.

Europe’s solar module manufacturers, who first requested the tariffs in 2013, are opposed to the end of tariffs but have been more muted than in previous years. The level of the tariffs has already been decreasing over time since 2013, to allow the prices of the imports into the EU to align progressively with world market prices.

Keep reading on Forbes.com

 


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