Germany mulls anti-dumping action on China solar panels – minister

20 July 2012 16:40  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany is considering whether anti-dumping measures against solar panels from China should be initiated, the country’s environment minister said on Friday.

“We are looking to see whether anti-dumping procedures against China [over solar panel imports] can be initiated,” minister Peter Altmaier said on German state television.

"We want fair market competition," Altmaier added.

ermany’s solar industry has seen a number of high-profile insolvencies in past months amid tough international market competition, overcapacities, pricing pressures and cuts in German government subsidies for the sector.

However, Altmaier also said that Germany needed to take a broader view in looking at the issue.

Many German engineering firms supply machinery and equipment to China’s solar sector, he said.

At the same time, he conceded that Germany, given its weather, is not an ideal place for solar energy production.

“If we can manage to have solar cells and panels used in African countries, where there is a lot of sun, without subsidies and at low costs, that would revolutionise energy supplies, and we would help those countries to finally overcome their power poverty,” Altmaier said.

“You have to look at the global situation,” he added.

Also, a final decision on anti-dumping duties would be made on the EU-level, and not by the German government acting on its own, he said.

In May, Germany-based polysilicon firm Wacker warned the EU not to impose duties on solar modules from China as that could deter the development of the photovoltaic (PV) industry.

In related industry news, Dow Corning warned on Friday that an escalating trade dispute between China and the US over polysilicon could have a serious impact on its ability to sell in China.

The company was reacting to an announcement that China started an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation on polysilicon imports from the US, as well as South Korea. In March, the US announced preliminary import duties on China-made solar panels amid allegations that Chinese solar manufacturers had received unfair government subsidies.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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