EU: AFASE-commissioned report shows tariffs shrinking PV jobs

19. February 2013 | Global PV markets, Markets & Trends, Trade cases | By:  Jonathan Gifford

A report produced by independent analysts Prognos and released today, has shown that employment in the solar sector in Europe would decrease on the back of tariffs being applied to Chinese-made solar cells and modules. The study sees tariffs shrinking the European PV market.

The EU Parliament.

Brussels was the location for the AFASE event releasing the report today.

Arguments continue to be presented from both sides regarding the Sino/EU solar trade case. The latest has been a management report, commissioned by the AFASE coalition, which is opposing the tariffs. It indicates that tariffs would shrink the solar sector in the EU and cost jobs.

In November 2012, AFASE  made the case that job losses will occur if tariffs go ahead, specifically in terms of Germany.

According to the Prognos report authors, the EU-wide job losses would be the result of fewer installations and therefore reduced demand for EU BOS components, a decrease in EU exports of raw materials and machinery to China, and a reduction in engineering and other service demand from the PV sector. These job losses, the report concludes, would outnumber the jobs added in the EU manufacturing of solar products assisted by the tariffs.

The report is titled "The Impact of Anti-Dumping and / or Countervailing Measures on Imports of Solar Modules, Cells and Wafers from China on EU Employment and Value Added." It was released today at a press conference in Brussels.

In summary, the Prognos report has found that a tariff of 20% would see 115,000 jobs in the EU go in the first year at a cost to the economy of €4.74 billion. Job losses would grow to 175,500 in three years, at a cost of €18.4 billion.

The report considers two further scenarios: (i) At a tariff rate of 35%, 244,100 jobs would be lost, costing €27.8 billion over three years; and (ii) At a rate of 60%, 242,000 jobs would be lost, costing €27.2 billion over three years.

Prognos has also calculated country-specific values for Italy, France, Spain and the U.K. A separate press release highlighted that the U.K. solar industry could shed up to 80% of its workforce in the face of tariff cuts. 

"Due to the imposition of tariffs, production of EU solar products increases and some jobs are being created. However, the jobs created by the EU solar producers represent at the very most 20% of the jobs lost along the PV value chain," says Thorsten Preugschas, CEO of the German project developer Soventix, a spokesperson of AFASE, in a statement announcing the report's release.

The European Commission began anti-dumping proceedings against China relating to c-Si wafers, cells and modules on September 6, 2012. On October 8. it added parallel anti-subsidy proceedings.

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