Time to batten down the hatches as China, EU solar trade war looms

chinese and EU fists

Is the next solar trade war between China and Europe?

News on the international solar front is not good this week solar fans, with rumblings of a trade war between China and the EU.

The dispute revolves around German company SolarWorld AG which has asked the European Union to investigate allegations of dumping by Chinese-based solar firms. Instead of keeping their heads down and riding out the quarrel, Chinese firms Yingli Green Energy, Suntech Power Holdings Co., Trina Solar and Canadian Solar (which operates in the country) have come charging out of their corner, swinging punches like a drunken flyweight.

The four solar firms have asked their government (demanded might be a better word) to negotiate with the EU trade authorities to nip this bit of trade nastiness in the bud. The four released a quaintly-worded statement this week which warns darkly of “huge losses” should the anti-dumping action proceed.

“We strongly appeal that, before official initiation of the investigation by the EU, the Chinese government start a high-level dialogue with the EU immediately, seek to reach a solution jointly…and block the initiation of the investigation,” the Chinglish statement was reported to have said  in the Wall Street Journal.

The release then loses all pretence of politeness when it practically shouts at the government department head responsible for trade relations with the European Union that they “…should take any and all necessary measures to protect all aspects of the legitimate interests of the Chinese companies,” it screams.

Flippancy aside though the nature of recent disputes between China and the United States and now China and Europe over solar exports is a worrying sign. Not only has it the potential to destabilise the world’s solar market but also may affect the price of components such as cheap Chinese solar panels which make the price of domestic solar systems more affordable to a far wider range of solar enthusiasts.

Of course a global trade war directed at cheap Chinese solar products will eventually engulf Australia, a situation which will certainly drive the price of solar energy up in our country. So can Beijing and Europe amicably settle on this latest dispute? From our antipodean perspective we certainly hope so. As always folks, your views are welcome, either here or over at our Facebook Page.

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