The solar aspect of EU-US trade talks

04. March 2013 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Trade cases | By:  Max Hall

EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht gave a speech in Boston at the weekend about the planned EU-U.S. trade talks, which could have an impact on the Transatlantic, and wider, solar industry.

President Barack Obama.

Forthcoming EU-U.S. trade talks could have an impact on the Transatlantic, and global, solar industry.

Global electronics manufacturing trade body SEMI on Friday cited the forthcoming talks as one of the routes available to bring the parties engaged in the current spate of solar trade wars to the negotiating table.

President Barack Obama announced an intention to conduct the talks and the EU has stated a final agreement is expected to remove trade barriers, harmonize Transatlantic product standards and address shared trade "challenges and opportunities".

An EU memorandum about the proposed Transatlantic trade and investment partnership makes no specific mention of solar, simply stating, "both sides are keen to tackle ... competition and state-owned enterprises."

Trade wars

Currently, the EU is embroiled in a dispute – alongside Japan – with the Canadian state of Ontario over the local content element of the state's FIT program. It has also launched anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations against photovoltaic modules imported from China; launched an anti-dumping investigation into solar glass imported from China; and is itself the subject of a retaliatory charge from China relating to European imports of polysilicon.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is involved in a tit-for-tat trade war between its polysilicon producers and Chinese cell and module manufacturers, and has responded to a complaint by India in 2012 by requesting a WTO consultation into the domestic content requirement under India's Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

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