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Brussels opens probes into two Chinese solar companies

09 April 2024, 00:41 CET
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Brussels opens probes into two Chinese solar companies

Solar panels - Photo © vencav - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission launched two probes Wednesday under foreign subsidies rules into the potentially market distortive role of foreign subsidies to bidders in a public procurement procedure.

"Solar panels have become strategically important for Europe: for our clean energy production, jobs in Europe, and security of supply," said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton: "The two new in-depth investigations on foreign subsidies in the solar panel sector aim to preserve Europe's economic security and competitiveness by ensuring that companies in our Single Market are truly competitive and play fair."

The Commission will now assess whether the economic operators concerned did benefit from an unfair advantage to win public contracts in the EU.

The in-depth investigations follow notifications submitted by on the one hand the ENEVO Group including LONGi Solar Technologie GmbH, and on the other hand Shanghai Electric UK Co. Ltd. and Shanghai Electric Hong Kong International Engineering Co. Ltd. The relevant public procedure was launched by a Romanian contracting authority (Societatea PARC FOTOVOLTAIC ROVINARI EST S.A.) for the design, construction and operation of a photovoltaic park in Romania, with an installed power of 110 MW. This project is partially financed by the EU Modernisation Fund.

According to the Foreign Subsidies Regulation, companies are obliged to notify their public procurement tenders in the EU when the estimated value of the contract exceeds €250 million, and when the company was granted at least €4 million in foreign financial contributions from at least one third country in the three years prior to notification.

The EU executive thinks its preliminary review shows there are sufficient indications that both have been granted foreign subsidies that distort the internal market.

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