Solar panel industry weighs trade complaints against China.
Last fall, a group of 59 Senators and Members of Congress urged President Obama to investigate allegations that Chinese firms are dumping subsidized solar panels in the U.S. at below fair-market value.
The group, which included Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), submitted a letter to President Obama stating that imports of Chinese solar products have “surged more than 350% from 2008 to 2010.” At the same time, the U.S. solar industry has ”lost thousands of jobs, and at least seven companies have been forced to close or downsize.”
As the San Joe Mercury News' Dana Hull reports, the possibility of a trade case against China was the talk of the town at a solar convention in San Jose this week:
Many fear that the Obama administration, eager to create American manufacturing jobs, is about to apply additional duties on solar cells and solar panels made in China, possibly driving up solar prices and curtailing solar adoption in the United States just as the industry is taking off.
Several U.S. manufacturers of solar panels have filed dumping charges against Chinese firms to offset illegal subsidies by the Chinese government. The letter to President Obama states that these products are “unfairly traded,” and benefit from “government policies [that] clearly distort international trade.” These subsidies include: “massive loans at below-market interest rates”; “extensive tax breaks and other state assistance”; and, “a currency that is substantially undervalued (by itself giving Chinese manufacturers roughly a 28 percent price advantage over their U.S. competitors).”
Last year, the United Steelworkers (USW) filed a section 301 trade case against China alleging that dumping and subsidies in the clean energy sector were adversely affecting U.S. manufacturers of renewable energy technology and equipment.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has praised the Senators and Members who sent a letter to the president. CLICK HERE to read the full letter.
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