EU ends anti-dumping controls on Chinese solar panels

EU will end restrictions on the sale of solar panels from China early next week in a move that EU producers said would lead to a flood of cheap imports. (REUTERS/File Photo)
Updated 01 September 2018
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EU ends anti-dumping controls on Chinese solar panels

BRUSSELS: The EU will end restrictions on the sale of solar panels from China early next week in a move that EU producers said would lead to a flood of cheap imports.
The European Commission, which coordinates EU trade policy, said in a statement on Friday that the measures would expire at midnight on Monday Sept. 3, confirming a Reuters report on Aug. 24.
The EU first imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures for Chinese solar panels, wafers and cells in 2013 and extended them by 18 months in March last year, signalling that they should then end.
Chinese manufacturers have been allowed to sell solar products in Europe free of duties if they do so at or above a progressively declining minimum price. If sold for less than that price, they are subject to duties of up to 64.9 percent.
The commission said it was in the best interests of the EU as a whole for the measures to lapse, given the bloc’s aim of increasing its supply of renewable energy.
The measures had also decreased over time, allowing import prices to align with world market prices, it said.
China’s commerce ministry welcomed the end of restrictions, describing the move as a “model for successfully resolving trade frictions through consultations.”
The move “will restore EU-China trade of photovoltaics to a normal market condition, will provide a more stable and predictable business environment for cooperation between the two sides’ industries, and will truly realize mutual benefit for both sides,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.
SolarPower Europe, which represents importers and installers, described the move as a “watershed moment” for Europe’s solar industry and that it removes the biggest barrier to growth of the sector.
The EU has faced a delicate balancing act between the interests of EU manufacturers and those such as importers and installers pressing for a reduction in the cost of solar power generation.
It has also been concerned about the response from Beijing, given that the two sides were on the verge of a trade war over the issue in 2013.
EU ProSun, the grouping of EU producers that launched the initial complaint in 2012 and wanted a further extension of measures, had said that European manufacturers would be devastated if the measures ended.
Beijing’s decision to limit installations in China meant producers there had some 30 gigawatts of excess capacity to shift but with few markets to sell into after tariffs imposed by the US and planned by India, the second and third-largest markets behind China. The total EU market is about 7 gigawatts.
Some companies were considering a legal challenge at the European Court of Justice. EU ProSun said, adding that years of falling prices had not resulted in growth of the European market.


Saudi Aramco concerned over Gulf attacks, has capacity to meet demand: CEO

Updated 25 June 2019
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Saudi Aramco concerned over Gulf attacks, has capacity to meet demand: CEO

  • ‘What’s happening in the Gulf is definitely a concern’
  • Aramco has no plan to increase its current maximum output capacity of 12 million barrels per day, given sizeable spare capacity

Saudi Aramco concerned over Gulf attacks, has capacity to meet demand: CEO
SEOUL: Saudi Aramco is concerned at recent actions in the Gulf but can meet its customers’ needs thanks to its experience and the availability of additional spare capacity, its chief executive said on Tuesday.
“What’s happening in the Gulf is definitely a concern,” Amin Nasser, president and chief executive of Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant, told Reuters in an interview.
“At the same time, we went through a number of crises in the past ... we’ve always met our customer commitments and we do have flexibility and the system availability in terms of available additional spare capacity.”
Recent tanker attacks in the Gulf have raised fears about safety of one of the world’s key shipping routes and pushed up oil prices.
Nasser, who is in Seoul ahead of a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said Aramco has no plan to increase its current maximum output capacity of 12 million barrels per day (bpd), given sizeable spare capacity.
“If you look at our production, it is hovering around 10 million barrels per day so we do have additional spare capacity,” he said.
The oil giant is aiming to become a major global gas player, and has been developing its own gas resources as well as eyeing gas assets in the United States, Russia, Australia and Africa.
Nasser said Aramco is in talks to buy a stake in Russian gas company Novatek’s Arctic LNG-2 project, while exploring other investment opportunities in gas.
He confirmed the company is also in discussions about buying a stake in India’s Reliance Industries and in talks with other Asian companies about investments.
“We will continue to explore opportunities in different markets and different companies, and these things take time,” he said.
Nasser said the company, South Korea’s top oil supplier, was looking to increase its crude oil supplies to the country where it has partnerships and investments with South Korean refiners.
Saudi Aramco supplies between 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) and 900,000 bpd to South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest crude importer.