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Chinese solar product manufacturers eye wider EU market as restrictions end

Updated: Sep 7,2018 9:27 AM     CGTN

Chinese solar manufacturers are looking to widen their markets now that the European Union (EU) has canceled its anti-dumping measures on their products.

Starting Sept 3, Chinese solar PV products entering the European Union no longer had to follow the EU’s Minimum Import Price restrictions, known as MIP, thanks to the lifting of five-year-long anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on Chinese imports.

This was good news for many Chinese solar producers, who had shifted their focus from overseas markets back to China when the restrictions were first introduced.

“The decision from the EU is timely help for us. It provides us with a new market for our products. Next, we will focus on improving the quality and lowering the costs of these products,” said Wang Lizheng, the vice-general manager of Hunan Red Solar Photoelectricity Science and Tech company.

“It’s definitely good news. We make PV inverters, and in the past we used to bundle with big components companies to sell to Europe, but as component makers came under MIP restrictions, we found it difficult to find buyers to buy our products separately. Now we can work with component companies again, and it will be easier to sell into the European market,” said Xu Lei, marketing director of Shenzhen Sofar Solar Company.

Companies say they have been talking to buyers in Turkey, France, Germany and the UK, and are likely to see deals early next year. However, one analyst said it is still too early to predict how much the volume of trade will recover.

“Under the MIP restrictions, many Chinese solar companies used factories in South East Asia to manufacture their products and then ship them to the EU. But after the cancellation of the MIP, more companies will ship directly from the Chinese mainland to the EU, which will help increase the trade volume. But by how much will still depend on the demand from the EU market,” said Holly Hu, senior analyst of HIS Markit.

Data from IHS Markit showed that the EU demand for PV installation capacity will be around 12 gigawatts this year, and is estimated to increase by another 40 percent next year. IHS also points out that growing solar imports from China will help reduce solar module prices in Europe by a third.