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China hurting American solar industry says U.S. Int’l Trade Commission


December 2, 2011
By Anthony Capkun

December 2, 2011 – The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined there is a reasonable indication that an American industry is “materially injured” by reason of imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and modules from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the States at less-than-fair value.

As a result of the commission’s affirmative determination, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue to conduct its anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations on imports of these products from China, with its preliminary countervailing duty determination due on or about January 12, 2012, and its preliminary anti-dumping duty determination due on or about March 22, 2012.

The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) applauded the preliminary determination that dumped and subsidized solar imports from China have harmed the U.S. domestic solar industry.

“The ITC’s unanimous ruling underscores what American solar manufacturers have argued for months: without any production cost advantage, dumping by Chinese solar manufacturers and massive subsidies by the Chinese government are enabling Chinese producers to drive out U.S. competition,” said Gordon Brinser, president of Oregon-based SolarWorld Industries America Inc., an American manufacturer, and CASM leader. “Today’s ruling further erodes the credibility of denials by Chinese manufacturers and their importer allies in this case.”

Comprising seven companies that manufacture crystalline silicon solar cells and panels in the United States, CASM supports SolarWorld’s allegation that Chinese solar cells and panels—heavily subsidized by the Chinese government—are flooding the American marketplace with artificially low prices intended to put the U.S. solar industry out of business.

The Department of Energy estimates that last year alone, the Chinese government provided its manufacturers with over $30 billion in subsidies, including $7 billion alone to Suntech. As a result of a “sprawling portfolio of Chinese subsidies”, U.S. solar manufacturers have been forced to close or downsize their operations, leading to the elimination of nearly 2000 high-tech American jobs in multiple states, says CASM, and the disruption of communities and local businesses. Among the direct solar job losses were 800 jobs in Massachusetts, 117 in New York, 328 in Maryland, 266 in California and hundreds more in other states.

The next step in the case will be that ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding preliminary remedies and “critical circumstances”, meaning importers of record could be required to deposit estimated duties on imports back to October 14, 2011.