EU glass-makers join PV trade row

The fair-trade stand-off between Europe and China took another twist when a group claiming to represent EU-based makers of specialist glass used in PV systems said it has filed its own dumping complaint in Brussels.

A body called EU ProSun Glass says its members have suffered from Chinese rivals dumping solar glass products at below-cost in the European market to offset the “incredible overcapacity” they have built up in China itself, and wants the European Commission to investigate.

"While EU demand for solar glass increased less than 5% between 2010 and 2012, unfairly priced deliveries of solar glass from China more than tripled during the same time period," it claims.

Ulrich Frei, president of the body, says: “Of course, this means that the Chinese producers are incurring heavy losses on their sales of solar glass, but these are apparently covered by the Chinese government.

“European solar glass factories, on the other hand, have to follow market economy rules and are being seriously injured by the unfair competition from business rivals in China who have the seemingly endless financial support of their government.“

EU ProSun Glass claims to represent “nearly 50% of EU solar glass production”, though few details are given about its members.

Its complaint closely mirrors that of EU ProSun, a group of PV equipment manufacturers led by Germany’s SolarWorld, which last year sparked an EU inquiry into alleged dumping of Chinese solar kit.

EU ProSun backed the glass-makers’ move but insists the groups are “separate initiatives with different corporate supporters”.

The Commission will now have to decide whether the complaint merits a formal investigation.