Solar Tribune

China responds to complaints from U.S. solar firms


On October 21, a spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce called for U.S. solar firms to “adopt more rational means of handling trade frictions.”

The statement came in response to last week’s allegations of unfair competition against Chinese solar firms. On October 19, the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) filed petitions to the U.S. government calling for antidumping and countervailing duties on Chinese solar imports.

The group, comprised of seven U.S. crystalline PV firms, is led by SolarWorld and argues that illegal government subsidies from China are destroying the U.S. solar industry.

The Chinese statement, from an unnamed Ministry of Commerce official, said U.S. antidumping actions are protectionist in nature, with negative environmental and economic consequences.

“The U.S. has no reason to criticize other countries’ efforts to improve the world’s environment, and should instead strengthen cooperation with other countries in the solar energy sphere to jointly respond to climate and environmental challenges,” the statement said.

“If the U.S. government files a case, adopts duties and sends an inappropriate protectionist signal, it would cast a shadow over world economic recovery.”

U.S. Solar Firms Hit Back

The Chinese response cited a Solar Energy Industries Association report that found a record U.S. export surplus for 2010, with exports to China exceeding imports.

But according to CASM, “the U.S. industry has been significantly harmed by Chinese imports in ways that the SEIA report did not fully address,” with little focus on “the negative impact of Chinese subsidies for finished product.”

Chen Deming, Chinese Minister of Commerce Photo Credit: Bloomberg Businessweek

Responding to the Ministry of Commerce statement, CASM called the Chinese claims unfounded and misleading.

“The Chinese government’s claims that our actions are improper and protectionist, and that its illegal subsidies and massive dumping of solar product are helping the global economy and the environment, are absurd,” the statement said.

The coalition says it is “holding China accountable for its disregard of the very trade rules it has agreed to follow. Rather than handing over the keys to the industry, CASM has decided to take a stand and defend U.S. innovation, industry, and jobs.”

CASM found the Chinese argument that the petitions detrimental to the goal of environmental protection to be hypocritical.

The group argued that the Chinese should “stiffen their environmental rules to match western standards and produce solar products using the same high environmental standards followed in the United States.”

Chinese Industry Response

In addition to the Chinese government response, Chinese solar firms have also expressed concern.

A statement from Yingli Solar confirmed they “intend to mount a vigorous defense.” Another firm, Trina Solar, “believes the allegations made by the U.S. petitioners will eventually prove to be unfounded.”

Yesterday, Mr. Kangping Chen, Chief Executive Officer of JinkoSolar noted that the petitions do not necessarily reflect the position of the U.S. government.

“We will respond in accordance with ITC & DOC guidelines,” he said. “[W]e are confident in our position and are well-prepared to substantiate our strict adherence to fair international trade practices.”

The Chinese response was translated by Reuters.

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