EU launches anti-subsidy investigation against Longi, Shanghai Electric

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The European Commission has launched two in-depth investigations to determine whether two consortia violated the Foreign Subsidies Regulation in a 110 MW PV tender in Romania.

“According to the Foreign Subsidies Regulation, companies are obliged to notify their public procurement tenders in the EU when the estimated value of the contract exceeds €250 million ($271 million), and when the company was granted at least €4 million in foreign financial contributions from at least one third country in the three years prior to notification,” the European Commission said in a statement. “Following its preliminary review of all the submissions, the commission considered it justified to open an in-depth investigation for two bidders, since there are sufficient indications that both have been granted foreign subsidies that distort the internal market.”

The tender was held by the special purpose vehicle Societatea Parc Fotovoltaic Rovinari Est S.A. and is being partly financed by the EU modernization fund.

The first of the two groups under investigation includes Romanian engineering firm Enevo Group and Longi Solar Technologie GmbH, which is the German subsidiary of Chinese solar module maker Longi. The second consortium includes Shanghai Electric UK and Shanghai Electric Hong Kong International Engineering, which are two units of Chinese industrial conglomerate Shanghai Electric.

“During the in-depth investigation, the commission will further assess the alleged foreign subsidies and obtain all the information required to establish whether they may have allowed the companies to submit an unduly advantageous offer in reply to a tender. Such an offer could cause other companies participating in the public procurement procedure to potentially lose sales opportunities,” said the commission.

A final decision on the case should be announced within 110 working days.

“Solar panels have become strategically important for Europe: for our clean energy production, jobs in Europe, and security of supply,” said Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner for the internal market. “The two new in-depth investigations on foreign subsidies in the solar panel sector aim to preserve Europe’s economic security and competitiveness by ensuring that companies in our Single Market are truly competitive and play fair.”

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