While some analysts are calling for calm and urging cooperation, the US head of SolarWorld has voiced confidence in the US Department of Commerce’s announcement for anti-dumping duties on Chinese imports of solar material claiming it will restore competition within the industry.
The US DoC has issued anti-dumping duties of 31.14% on imports of solar cells and panels from Suntech, 31.22% from Trina Solar, 31.18% from Yingli and other companies that had requested but not received individual duty determinations and 249.96% from all other Chinese producers, including those controlled by the Chinese government.
“Today, SolarWorld and the many industry players who embrace the sustainable efficiency gains and price declines that come from fair competition can take heart that the US government is standing up against Big China Solar,” said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America and leader of the Coalition for Solar Manufacturing (CASM). “Commerce’s careful measures could help thwart China’s illegal drive to control the solar market and supplant manufacturers and jobs in America, the very country that invented, pioneered and innovated solar to today’s mainstream viability.”
“For the many former employees of at least 12 solar producers that have staged layoffs, shuttered plants or entered bankruptcies since 2010, it may be too late. But today’s announcement gives rise to the possibility that domestic solar manufacturing, environmentally sustainable solar production and robust global competition might one day soon return to boosting US manufacturing, jobs and energy security.”
“In our trade cases, the administration of President Obama is taking steps to fulfill pledges to hold China accountable to U.S. and world trade laws,” he said. “We look forward to seeing Commerce’s careful investigations and findings continue to develop through September.”
SolarWorld cites the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as estimating that without sponsorship from the Chinese government, Chinese producers would confront a 5% cost disadvantage in producing and delivering solar into the US market, compared with domestic producers.
Jigar Shah, the president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), said in a retaliatory statement, “SolarWorld received one of its biggest subsidies yet – an average 31% tax on its competitors. What’s worse, it will ultimately come right out of the paychecks of American solar workers. Fortunately, these duties are much lower than the 250% tax that SolarWorld originally requested. This decision will increase solar electricity prices in the U.S. precisely at the moment solar power is becoming competitive with fossil fuel generated electricity.
Shah continued, “The vast majority of the 100,000 jobs in the American solar industry are in sales, marketing, design, installation, engineering construction and maintenance of solar projects. These jobs depend on affordably-priced solar panels, and companies would have to lay-off workers if solar panel prices rise as a result of this investigation. Consequently, American solar developers and installers have expressed unified opposition to SolarWorld’s campaign to impose taxes on solar panels in the US.”
In response to the DoC’s determination, Yingli offered this statement: "As we've stated before, tariffs are disruptive and destructive for the entire solar industry," said Liangsheng Miao, chairman and chief executive officer. "We remain fully committed to serving the US market irrespective of the outcome of these proceedings, and we will continue to strive for a global, competitive marketplace."