SNEC: "Shanghai Declaration" calls for cooperation and negotiation

The "Shanghai Solar Declaration" was delivered at the International PV Associations Meeting, a part of the Asian Photovoltaic Industry Association (APIVIA) Day, which is the first event at this year’s SNEC.

Proceedings at the SNEC 2013, PV Power Expo Dialogue and Conference Exhibition got underway today, with a call for cooperation and negotiation as opposed to the current trade disputes currently taking place in the U.S., the EU and China.

Speakers at the APVIA Day opening event from APVIA, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), SEIA from the U.S., Korea’s KOPIA and Australian Solar Council all emphasized the global nature of the industry and supply chain and that solar is offering a global solution to the global challenge of climate change.

The declaration was distributed to attendees and it called on international PV industry associations to commit to utilizing "all available tools" in resolving solar trade disputes, "including negotiations and alternative trade remedy solutions."

The second commitment in the Shanghai Declaration is that a "consensus-based, public-private installation to foster a proactive, collaborative discussion on global solar competitiveness issues."

Negotiation and conciliation

Speaking at the APIVIA-hosted event, SEIA’s John Smirnow said that the various solar trade disputes currently underway in the U.S., EU and China area, are "part of the fabric of global trading," however, another important aspect is the role of negotiation and conciliation to resolve disputes. Smirnow continued that this conciliatory approach, "is what is currently missing from the global agenda in solar."

EPIA’s Murray Cameron called for the EU trade dispute process to be resolved as quickly as possible, however he said that EPIA remained neutral as to the "Shanghai Declaration" as yet. Cameron explained that the irony of the trade disputes currently gripping the industry is that, "customers have never had it so good," in terms of opportunities to purchase photovoltaic systems.

APVIA’s Edwin Khew highlighted the growth prospects for photovoltaics in Asia outside of China, while noting that the Chinese industry consumes one third of the photovoltaic cells its industry produces. Khew committed to bringing the "Shanghai Declaration" to APVIA’s board meeting tomorrow.

Along with the APVIA board, the EPIA and SEIA boards will have to consider the "Shanghai Declaration" before any formal commitment is made.

The vital role that the photovoltaic industry is playing in proving a clean energy alternative in the face of global climate change was emphasized in the "Shanghai Declaration." John Grimes from the Australian PV Association reiterated this important message for the solar industry, adding that China’s preeminence in the solar industry is as much due to the country’s very large deployment of renewable energy.

"China spends more than double on renewable energy than the next best country," said Grimes, adding, "the manufacturing shift to China is a large part because of China’s leadership role in the development of renewable energy."

On top of arguing for negotiating rather than litigation, SEIA’s Smirnow noted that World Trade Organization (WTO) rules underpins all global industries like solar, and that WTO processes require a 60-day conciliation process to proceed any litigation.

International solar industry body

As the event drew to a close, Smirnow drew attention to the second component of the "Shanghai Declaration" calling for the formation or identification of an international solar industry body, in attempt to circumvent solar trade disputes before they become a problem for the industry. "We need to setup or identify a multilateral, public private consensus based organization to solve problems before they arise," said Smirnow.

Murray Cameron, while making clear the EPIA remains neutral on the current solar trade disputes currently underway, concluded "whatever we do, we have to do it fast."

The Solar Leaders’ Dialogue will take place later. Solarpraxis CEO Karl-Heinz Remmers will be presenting at the leaders’ summit.