Intersolar Europe: tariffs to hit hard as questionable strategies emerge


The second day of the Intersolar Europe in Munich came to a close on Thursday with strategies being employed by Chinese firms to avoid tariffs coming to light. pv magazine has learned that some Chinese manufacturers, including major producers, are importing modules into the EU through Croatia before the country becomes an EU member state on July 1.

Exports of solar panels into Croatia are anti-dumping free at present and some Chinese photovoltaic manufacturers are exporting to the country before it becomes an EU member next month. From there, the modules can be sent throughout Europe tariff-free after Croatia becomes an EU member state.

The legality of the practice is unclear. An executive of a tier 1 Chinese manufacturer, who asked to remain anonymous, alerted pv magazine to the Croatian export strategy. He said that management at the firm he represents took the decision not to employ the strategy, fearing punitive measures.

JA Solar and Yingli told py magazine that they intend only to ship modules to Europe until the end of July due to uncertainty about the anti-dumping tariffs.

A further negative effect on the module supply to the European market could be additional anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese photovoltaic exports to the EU. A separate and ongoing case is currently before the European Commission regarding EU anti-subsidy tariffs that could be placed on Chinese photovoltaic modules and cells. pv magazine understands that the findings of the Commission’s investigations will be delivered on Aug. 6, the same day that higher EU anti-dumping tariffs could come into effect.

Some Chinese manufacturers have expressed fears that these anti-subsidy tariffs could even be applied on a retroactive basis.

A number of issues surrounding the anti-dumping tariffs were discussed on Thursday at the Executive Panel held at the pv magazine booth. Representatives from Trina Solar, JA Solar, Jinko, ReneSola, China Sunergy and IHS Solar participated in the discussion, which was held in cooperation with Solar PV.TV.

The panelists were united in expressing their opinion that the tariffs will undoubtedly have negative effects of the photovoltaic market. Some of the participants did, however, say that they believe an agreement between the EU and China could be reached by December.