Experts examine trade remedies in renewable energy sector
Geneva: The use of trade remedies - specifically anti-dumping duties
(ADs) and countervailing duties (CVDs) - on renewable energy goods such
as solar panels, wind turbines and biofuels, were among the topics
examined by experts at an UNCTAD meeting last week.
The second in a series of Green Economy and Trade meetings addressed
the implications of trade remedies for competition, investment,
employment and value chains in green sectors.
There were contributions from renowned legal experts, scholars and
trade officials from around the world.
According to a forthcoming report commissioned by UNCTAD, some 41 AD
and CVD cases have been initiated since 2008 on biofuels, solar energy
and wind energy products. Almost half of these measures target solar
The trade remedy trend accelerated during 2012-2013 among major
producers of renewable energy, including Australia, China, the European
Union, India, and the United States. But these measures were often at
cross purposes with national and international policies on climate
change and the environment, the report will contend.
While trade remedies can have a significant effect on value and job
creation throughout the supply chain, they also may hamper competition.
In addition, trade remedies against renewables provide a counterpoint
to initiatives that reduce tariffs on environmental goods, particularly
as some of the most active users of trade remedies participate in such
Trade remedies also tend to shatter alliances among interest groups
and signal a profound shift that is now under way with a new generation
of trade and environment disputes. The policies behind recent disputes
relating to renewables have more in common with industrial policy
measures in such sectors as steel, cars and semiconductors than they
have with import measures on tuna and shrimp in the environmental
disputes of the past.
Among the questions the experts faced were: What are the actual or
potential effects of trade remedies involving renewables, and what kind
of conclusions can be drawn from trade remedy cases since 2008?
Are there alternative approaches that might lessen the impact of
trade remedies on the deployment of renewable energy? Can aligning the
anti-dumping rules with competition or anti-trust rules help make sure
they only remedy truly anti-competitive behaviour, as opposed to
The meeting was divided into three sessions.