By Kari Williamson
The US-based manufacturers challenge state-subsidised Chinese solar companies, which they say are “inundating the US market with solar cells and panels at dumped prices to systematically secure a higher market share”
|“The Chinese industry’s ability to offer dumping prices is solely attributable to massive subsidies by the Chinese State Banks and the Chinese Government.”|
|- Gordon Brinser, SolarWorld Industries America Inc|
This action against unfair trade practices could be one of the largest against China in the USA, and is believed to be the first in the field of renewable energy worldwide.
Dr.-Ing. E.h. Frank Asbeck, Chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG, says: “Our German and US factories are fully competitive internationally – but China’s unfair trade practices must be addressed.”
With a large number of subsidies and preferential treatments, the Chinese Government and its state authorities have enabled its solar industry to make price cuts well beyond their own efficiency and to massively expand the export of its goods, SolarWorld says.
Documented cases of violations of social, quality and environmental standards that regulate production sites in the US and Germany have also been discovered, according to the petition.
Gordon Brinser, President of the US subsidiary SolarWorld Industries America Inc, adds: “China has no cost advantages – not even through very low wages. In the case of high-tech products like solar power modules and solar cells, the share of labour costs is very low. In our case, for example, it is below 10%.
“The Chinese industry’s ability to offer dumping prices is solely attributable to massive subsidies by the Chinese State Banks and the Chinese Government.”
SEIA awaits outcome
Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has issued a comment on the case, saying SEIA supports open markets:
“Global trade in solar products has been good for the United States by expanding export opportunities for domestic manufacturers, creating jobs and driving down costs to consumers.
“As global competition intensifies, we will continue to support open markets based on free and fair trade principles. It is critical that governments and private parties operate within the framework of internationally-negotiated trade rules.”
He adds: “If it appears that trade obligations are not being met, solar companies – whether foreign or domestic – have the right to request an investigation into alleged unfair trade practices. These allegations must be thoroughly examined and, if unlawful trade practices are found, action to remedy those practices should be taken.
“In turn, parties accused of unfair trade practices also have the right to defend themselves in the process of these investigations.
“The bottom line is that these investigations provide a legitimate, transparent mechanism for resolving trade disputes and determining what – if any – unfair practices have occurred."