Last week, trade experts of the EU Member States congregated in order to discuss the European Commission’s suggestion to extend the current trade measures for solar panels and cells that are imported from China, Taiwan and Malaysia, which was then decided against.
Up until now, trade sanctions against solar panels and cells from China, Taiwan and Malaysia hindered the import of these in the EU. The European Commission recently suggested to extend these sanctions in order to continue protecting and supporting local manufacturers. However, in a recent meeting of trade experts from the EU member states, more than half of the Member States voted against this.
Consequences for EU Commission and DG Trade
As a result, the Commission’s proposal is now subject to an appeal from the Member States – an absolute first. This may put additional pressure on The Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade), whose aim is, among other things, to secure prosperity, promote trade and fight trade barriers.
“We must thank all the European solar associations, who took part in achieving this historic result. This decision of the Member States reminds DG Trade that they must be more considerate of the solar jobs and investments that they have threatened across the EU with a proposal to extend these measures,“ says James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, the solar industry’s association.
Approval from SolarPower Europe
In accordance with Watson, Oliver Schaefer, President of SolarPower Europe, supports the decision as well: “We have been campaigning for the end of these trade measures for the last 18 months, and are pleased that the Member States have sent a strong rebuke to DG Trade for not taking account of the interests of the European solar industry. We hope that the Commission will now review their proposal and through the appeal process substantially revise their approach.“
SolarPower Europe will cooperate with Member States on removal of measures
In order to clear the way for a smooth removal of the measures, SolarPower Europe are glad to cooperate with the Member States on finding the best procedure. “We will now work with the Member States to find a suitable compromise to remove the measures as soon as possible, so that we can have a dynamic and growing solar sector in Europe once again,“ explains Kristina Thoring, Political Communications Advisor at SolarPower Europe.
In a few weeks’ time, a further vote by the Member States will take place. Prior to it, the European Commission should carefully adjust their proposal for a more positive outcome.
Title image: AleSpa (Own work), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons