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SolarWorld applauds trade panel for vote to counter illegal Chinese trade practices

Thursday, Nov 08, 2012

SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar producer for more than 35 years, cheered the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today for its unanimous final finding that illegally subsidized and dumped Chinese imports of crystalline silicon solar cells and panels have hurt domestic manufacturers. The decision, along with all major preceding rulings, validates the central contention of SolarWorld’s trade cases that the government of China is staging an illegal, anticompetitive export drive at the expense of U.S. manufacturing and jobs, the company said.

“While SolarWorld continues to innovate, the Chinese government has doubled-down on its trade-distorting practices”

However, the company said in light of China’s apparent determination to prop up its excessive production capacity at any cost, it would continue to pursue all relevant options to address China’s improper trade practices. The goal, according to the company, is to revive the domestic industry, fair competition and economic growth in the U.S. solar-manufacturing market at a time when demand is robustly expanding.

The 6-0 vote by the ITC will activate final anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on Chinese imports that the U.S. Department of Commerce issued in October, ranging from a combined rate of about 24 percent up to more than 250 percent, depending on the company, according to SolarWorld. The ITC determination is the final step in the trade case investigations, among the biggest brought against China, filed in October 2011.

“U.S. producers are grateful for the diligence that the ITC and its staff invested in this complex case at the crossroads of the world’s energy future,” said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., based in Oregon. “The vote comes too late for hundreds of American workers laid off from more than two dozen U.S. factories that China’s state-sponsored export campaign drove into financial peril. But the decision offers some hope to survivors that China might be held accountable to its legal obligations and that this U.S.-pioneered industry might see a fair chance to play a growing role in the nation’s energy independence.”

For example, SolarWorld said it has pulled further ahead as the world technology leader, offering a 270-watt, 60-cell panel – the world’s first – as it invests yet another $27 million in technological and manufacturing advances in its Oregon plant and $62 million in its plants worldwide. The addition brings SolarWorld’s total investment in Oregon to more than $610 million without federal subsidies to support development of its operations there, according to the company.

“While SolarWorld continues to innovate, the Chinese government has doubled-down on its trade-distorting practices,” Brinser said. “It is bailing out individual companies, keeping afloat massive excesses of production capacity and otherwise continuing to intervene in the U.S. market by underwriting a no-holds-barred export drive. Moreover, under government support, Chinese companies are pursuing ways to circumvent duties, partly by availing themselves of a loophole that Commerce created when it redefined the scope of SolarWorld’s cases.

Source: Business Wire

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