L@B Brief - April 2024

30 April 2024

Hello again,

THE LATEST issue of Global Trade Review highlighted a pressing concern: the European Union's solar manufacturing sector is facing significant challenges from competitors in the US and China. Despite efforts in the ‘European Solar Charter’ to address market distortions, the EU's subsidies fall short, leaving its manufacturers vulnerable.

With solar panel prices plummeting by 40% in 2023, European manufacturers find themselves unable to compete with heavily subsidised imports from China. Consequently, warehouses are brimming with unsold inventory, and many European firms have had to scale back or halt production altogether.

The European Commission's main response, the Solar Charter, offers only voluntary actions and according to critics, lacks concrete support measures. The promise of additional investment from the European Investment Bank (EIB) is not enough to alleviate the industry's woes.

As a result, over 97% of solar panels deployed in Europe are now imported, predominantly from China, with the US also gaining ground due to tax credits provided by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Johan Lindahl, secretary general of the European Solar Manufacturing Council is quoted as saying: “The US is subsidising through the IRA and is also better than Europe currently at protecting domestic manufacturers through forced labour legislation and import tariffs. They have established both mechanisms, but currently Europe does not have either,”.

All this has an ominous ring for those in the lab industry who are also seeing a large number of Chinese competitors looking to import laboratory equipment into the EU and the UK. No exporter wants a return to protectionism, but if everyone else is doing it, what should we do? One thing’s for sure – if we are going to protect our industry, warm words and promises won’t be enough.



To download a copy of April's L@b Brief, click here

Also in this month's issue...

Analytica exhibition exposes negative global sales data... ECJU moves the goalposts...  Common User Charge now in force... Bad Bots target your APIs... This month’s shared cost training from GAMBICA... Use of life science space up by 25% in ‘golden triangle’... Research round-up: Magic mushrooms have similar side effects to SSRIs… AI threat to scientific publishing… OECD figures point to stark slowdown in R&D spending... HR News: Many businesses unaware of new digital immigration and mobility changes… Changes to redundancy law for new and expectant parents... UK quality and precision – the foundation of GAMBICA member Graticules Optics’ success

Also insideGAMBICA events and industry events and CHIEF is no more...