Chinese modules imported to US should be tagged: SolarWorld lawyer

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Any trade settlement should require Chinese modules to be physically traceable, according to a lawyer representing SolarWorld in the US trade case.

China has requested talks with the US department of commerce on a suspension agreement in the anti-dumping half of the latest dispute.

If accepted, and an agreement is found, it could be the first step toward reaching an elusive settlement.

Tim Brightbill, a lawyer with Wiley Rein, the firm representing SolarWorld, said any deal would need to be watertight.

“SolarWorld welcomes any potential resolution that addresses all of China’s unfair trade practices and is enforceable,” he told PV Tech. “We look forward to working with the US government to ensure that any proposal meets those fundamental requirements.”

Asked what an enforceable agreement would look like, Brightbill said it would need to be stiffer than comparable arrangements in other industries.

“On enforcement, there have been prior provisions in other trade agreements such as softwood lumber and Mexican cement, but so far these trade cases have included certification requirements. We would need something stronger than certifications or paper work. We think there should be physical traceability of Chinese products coming into the United States,” said Brightbill.

“It could take the form of labelling or bar-coding of products so that we know it is really coming from China and not some third country,” he added.

Brightbill said the ball was now in China's court to follow up its request for talks with a suspension agreement proposal.

Till now, there has been little detail on what SolarWorld hoped to see from any settlement. The company had expressed that the Solar Industries Energy Association (SEIA) plan was unsuitable. The SEIA has called on SolarWorld to provide more detail on what it wants to see.

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