‘We have not forgotten how China’s unfair trade practices affected our solar industry’: European Commission president


From pv magazine Global

Days after a number of European solar associations urged the European Commission to protect the bloc’s PV industry from “unfair” Chinese competition, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, provided a series of statements that appear to indicate that the union is now ready to take a completely new stand toward China when it comes to the energy sector.

“We have not forgotten how China’s unfair trade practices affected our solar industry,” she said. “Many young businesses were pushed out by heavily subsidized Chinese competitors. Pioneering companies had to file for bankruptcy. Promising talents went searching for fortune abroad. This is why fairness in the global economy is so important – because it affects lives and livelihoods.”

Von der Leyen did not say which specific measures might be adopted to avoid market distortions in the PV sector. However, she said that the European Union will not accept that prices will be kept “artificially” low by state subsidies.

“And as we do not accept this from the inside, we do not accept this from the outside,” she said. “So I can announce today that the Commission is launching an anti-subsidy investigation into electric vehicles coming from China.”

SolarPower Europe CEO Walburga Hemetsberger praised the commissioner’s “commitment to critical industry made in Europe.” However, Hemetsberger noted that “this promise must translate into action. Solar project developers face inflation-driven headwinds. Europe’s solar manufacturers are at risk of bankruptcy.”

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