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Report: Jobs lost if EU fines China solar trade
February 20, 2013, 4:06 am

Chinese companies produce 80 per cent of the world's solar panels [Getty Images]

Chinese companies produce 65 per cent of the world’s solar panels [Getty Images]

The global photovoltaic industry was thrown into disarray earlier this week when an independent economic research firm warned that the European Union’s move to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese products could cost thousands of jobs.

In September, the European Commission began to investigate whether Chinese solar panel manufacturers were “dumping” – selling at below market price – their products on European markets, giving them unfair advantage over locally made wares.

It expanded its investigation two months later to determine whether Beijing is subsidizing these Chinese manufacturers.

The Commission could slap punitive tariffs of up to 60 per cent on Chinese products if the investigation finds the companies guilty. Swiss photovoltaic company SolarWorld, which has been supportive of the Commission’s investigation, wants the tariffs as high as 120 per cent.

But a report from research firm Prognos, commissioned by a group of 180 solar panel installation and servicing companies known as the Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE), says the tariffs would result in the lose of nearly a quarter million European jobs within three years.

The UK would be the hardest hit, the report says, losing up to $5.4 billion dollars and at least 38, 000 jobs in a three-year period.

Chinese companies produce roughly 65 per cent of the world’s photovoltaic panels.

Thorsten Preugschas, the chief executive of project developer Soventix and a spokesman for AFASE, says the positive impact of tariffs to protect EU solar producers from inexpensive Chinese products would be “dwarfed by the negative impact on employment in the EU”.

“Due to the imposition of tariffs, production of EU solar products increases and some jobs are being created. However, the jobs created by the EU solar producers represent at the most 20 per cent of the jobs lost along the PV value chain,” he told a news conference on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, China recently announced that it would boost its solar panel industry output after a report showed it as buying up a third of the photovoltaic cells in the world.

Source: Agencies