EU member states have voted against the imposition of provisional duties on Chinese solar panels with 18 votes against in comparison to four in favour and five abstaining.
Countries who voted in support of the proposal include some of Europe’s largest solar players, including France, Spain and Italy. However, many other notable EU members have stated their opposition along with the UK and Germany.
European Trade Commissioner, Karel de Gucht has since accused China of forcing EU member states to oppose the duties, but James Drewer of the UK Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE) said: “The member states have heard clear and consistent evidence from their domestic solar businesses about how punitive tariffs would damage business... Additionally 15 solar trade associations from across Europe have declared their opposition to the tariffs and have written to the Trade Commissioner to express their views on the investigation. The overwhelming view from the solar industry in Europe is in complete opposition to the imposition of punitive tariffs.”
PV Specialist for the Solar Trade Association, Ray Noble said, “We understand that under EU rules, despite a clear majority vote, the Commissioner can still go ahead and impose these duties. I suggest David Cameron and Angela Merkel work together to sort out these absurd rules and remove this lingering market uncertainty, so that industry can get on with installing low cost, clean and affordable solar energy.”
Karel de Gucht is expected to publish a decision on the duties on 5th June.