The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) has released a report in which it claims that the solar industry trade surplus with China “disappeared between 2010 and 2011.” According to CASM, the US solar industry had nearly a US$1.6 billion trade deficit with China in 2011, after an estimated US$250 to US$540 million surplus in 2010. The report’s findings are based on data from the US Department of Commerce, the US International Trade Commission and a prior study by GTM Research.
In the midst of dumping allegations and an investigation by the ITC, CASM maintains that its data is proof of China’s use of illegal subsidies and dumping practices to “seize the US solar market and eliminate its manufacturing jobs.” The organization cited a GTM Research study released by SEIA in August 2011, which found that the US had a positive trade balance anywhere between US$250 and $US540 million with China in 2010 and a US$2 million trade surplus in solar exports worldwide.
CASM states that it used the same data sets that GTM Research employed and examined the US industry’s competitive position with China and the world and found that in 2011, the US became a net solar importer from both. According to CASM, it found that Chinese importers of solar cells and panels grew from US$1.192 billion in 2010 to US$2.801 billion in 2011. Additionally, the organization asserts that US exports of solar manufacturing equipment and polysilicon to China dropped by US$170 million and US$194 million
“This new data, drawn from official government sources, finally buries the Chinese importers’ tired, shop-worn and factually incorrect talking point that the U.S. solar industry has a trade surplus with China,” said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America. “Chinese importers often claim that the modest US trade surplus in 2010 proved that China is not threatening the US solar industry and economy. But it is no longer 2010, and any trade surplus is history. Illegal dumping by massively subsidized Chinese solar producers, combined with curbed exports of polysilicon and manufacturing equipment, are decimating US solar manufacturers, the supply chain and their export business.”
CASM affirms that globally, the US had a US$2 billion solar trade surplus in 2010, but by the end of 2011, incurred an estimated US$1.6 billion global solar trade deficit. The report can be found here, on CASM’s website.