Solar components import misdeclaration hurts Spanish economy: Unesid

Spanish steelmakers’ association Unesid says the domestic economy lost €55 million ($59.8m) in 2023 as a result of the impact of Chinese-origin solar components imports being misdeclared as steel tubes and profiles.

“Some importers declare these products as solar components to circumvent EU regulations for steel imports, just because they have some perforations,” says Unesid general director Andrés Barceló. “This misclassification causes serious damage to the market and local economy.” Duty paid on tubes and profiles amounts to 25% when import quotas are exceeded, Kallanish notes.

Chinese-origin entries of the products for the photovoltaic energy sector reached 119,807 tonnes in 2023. This volume was almost 55,000t more on-year, Spanish Tax Agency trade data show. From the total, almost 61,000t were imported for below €1,100/tonne, a price more similar to that of steel tubes than to solar power system components, Unesid observes.

Spain is massively investing in sustainable energy projects to meet EU decarbonisation objectives. The country was the second-largest after Germany in the EU in solar panel installed capacity last year. Spain’s target is to have 65GW capacity in 2030, which will require around 100,000 tonnes/year of pipe, tube and profiles.

“This strong investment could generate great added value locally since we have the industry with the capacity to provide this material competitively. Therefore, it is essential that these materials coming from outside the EU pay safeguard duties following the provisions of customs regulations,” Barceló concludes.

Todor Kirkov Bulgaria