BRUSSELS, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Over 450 companies in the European solar industry on Wednesday voiced strong opposition to a potential decision by the European Commission to impose provisional anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese solar panels.
The statement was made amid a number of media reports in recent days that the Commission plans to propose provisional anti-dumping duties with rates ranging between 37 percent and 68 percent on imports of Chinese solar panels.
The Alliance for Affordable Solar Energy (AFASE), a coalition of over 450 companies in the European Photovoltaic (PV) industry called the news "extremely disturbing."
AFASE, representing more than 41,000 European Union (EU) jobs, said in a statement, "Punitive tariffs, no matter at what level, would cause irreversible damage to the entire European PV value chain."
Those levels as reported would cost the EU PV industry and the whole of the EU economy "dearly," added AFASE, citing a study by the independent research institute Prognos showing that duties of 60 percent would cost the European economy up to 242,000 jobs and 27 billion euros (35.5 billion U.S. dollars) over the next three years.
During a hearing at the Commission on April 5, AFASE supporters said that "the current market development leaves no room for price increases and that duties as low as 15 percent will destroy 85 percent of EU PV demand," said the statement.
Wouter Vermeersch, CEO of the Belgian company Cleantec Trade, echoed the view. "The solar business is very price sensitive. If prices are artificially increased by punitive tariffs, the European solar market would simply come to a standstill with disastrous effects on green jobs," he said.
AFASE called upon the European Commission to "understand that the value added lies upstream and downstream from solar panel production."
"Imposing provisional duties on imports of Chinese solar panels would be against the European Union's interest and a clear contradiction with Europe's ambition to build a green and high value-added economy," it added.
AFASE warned against the "irreversible" impact of the imposition of provisional anti-dumping duties even if a negotiated solution can be finally found.
"These duties will immediately put a halt to most of the PV projects in the EU and cause severe damage that no negotiation concluded after the imposition of provisional duties can ever repair," it said.
AFASE requests the European Commission to "take into account the interests of an EU PV value chain that stands to lose a great many jobs and value added to the detriment of the EU economy overall."
The European Commission is expected to announce the final decision on whether to impose provisional anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar products on June 6. Definitive duties are scheduled to be decided on in December this year.