Sian Crampsie

Trina Solar has announced its withdrawal from the EU’s minimum price import (MIP) programme covering solar panels manufactured in China.

The solar module manufacturer said in a statement that the MIP programme it joined in 2013 was unfairly limiting the firm’s growth potential in the EU and that it intended to continue serving its customers in the region through its overseas manufacturing facilities.

The European Commission implemented MIPs on Chinese solar module manufacturers at the end of 2013 after an investigation found that solar products were being dumped on the European market at unfair prices.

Chinese firms could elect to join the MIP programme and agree to sell products at set minimum prices. Those that did not agree to the programme would be subject to anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on solar cell and panels.

Jifan Gao, Chairman and chief executive officer of Trina Solar, said that Chinese companies had lost their competitive edge in the EU solar markets because of the MIP undertaking. "With our recognised brand name, advanced technology and established customer base, we believe our withdrawal from the UT [minimum price undertaking] will allow us to better develop our business in the region through our tariff-free overseas facilities and to regain market share under a more flexible pricing strategy," said Gao.

Gao added: "We believe the current iteration of the UT agreement misinterprets the rules and scope of the original UT, and adversely affects the execution of our global expansion strategy. In particular, the prohibition of manufacturing modules in overseas facilities, regardless of whether the modules will be sold to the EU or to non-EU markets is an obvious misapplication to the UT agreement.

"Furthermore, we believe the current MIP does not reflect the ongoing market trends in the solar sector, particularly as average selling prices in major markets continue to decline at a faster than expected rate, with downward pressure anticipated to continue for the foreseeable future."