Posting in Energy
The U.S. government is imposed hefty tariffs on Chinese solar panels in retaliation for China's dumping of goods into the U.S. market. Chinese firms have asked the U.S. to reconsider to avoid a potential trade war.
The United States has slapped hefty tariffs onto Chinese solar panels after concluding that China has engaged in unfair trading practices to the detriment of U.S. manufacturers. Chinese companies have called for the U.S. to advert a "solar trade war."
Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its preliminary decision on a minimum 31 percent, 90-day retroactive, tariff on Chinese made panels as a remedy for China's "dumping" goods into the U.S. market. Chinese PV maker Suntech Power Holdings issued a statement taking issue with the decision for not reflecting the "reality of a highly-competitive global solar industry" and vowed to convince the U.S. to back off.
"As a global company with global supply chains and manufacturing facilities in three countries, including the United States, we are providing our U.S. customers with hundreds of megawatts of quality solar products that are not subject to these tariffs," said Andrew Beebe, Suntech's chief commercial Officer.
"Despite these harmful trade barriers, we hope that the U.S., China and all countries will engage in constructive dialogue to avert a deepening solar trade war. Suntech opposes trade barriers at any point in the global solar supply chain. All leading companies in the global solar industry want to see a trade war averted. We need more competition and innovation, not litigation," Beebe continued.
The Department imposed a separate tariff of up to 4.73 percent on Chinese PVs to remedy Chinese government subsidies in March. In October, a coalition of U.S. PV panel makers raised trade complaints with government officials, sparking a row between East and West.
A month later, a Chinese solar manufacturing trade group asked China's Ministry of Commerce to investigate U.S. manufacturers for selling below cost and requested action against U.S. government subsidies. China cut its subsidies substantially earlier this month.
Thus far, only China has been found to be in violation of international trade rules. China's rationing of rare earth minerals used in the production of high tech and renewable energy products, such as PV panels, has run afoul of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Trade law expert UCLA law professor Richard Steinberg, stated that the behavior was, "It was Chinese mercantilism at its best: a straightforward, illegal, aggressive effort to manipulate the global market for raw materials, and they lost appropriately."
The European Union, Japan, and United States filed a separate trade dispute with the WTO over China's export restrictions on rare earths in March. The process could take years to yield any results.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- U.S., allies seek rare earth trade resolution
- China cuts solar subsidies
- U.S. places tariffs on Chinese solar panel makers
- WTO rules against China's rare earths stockpiling
- U.S. solar manufactures back cheap Chinese imports
May 17, 2012
I hope the same clowns that ran America into the ground with the financial fiasco, aren't influencing the law makers on this trade war.
My mother had a refrigerator for >30 years. People would buy one (1) toaster at the beginning of their marriage, and that was it. An awful lot of the stuff in the stores nowadays is either poorly made or, even worse, purposefully engineered to fail. And most of that is coming from China. Sadly, though, you can't just pay more to buy American, and expect the product to be better. We're infected with the same schlock virus.
China understands capitalism very well. It behaves like the world's largest, most ruthless mega corporation. I believe that Adam Smith's reasoning in support of free trade does not apply to trading with companies whose workers are not free. But the entire solar energy propaganda, I believe, is in error. Solar panels have quite low efficiency, even with a cloudless sky. I have not yet heard of a state which has shut down any coal burning plants, or even significantly reduced their hours of operation, by reason of solar, wind, or biomass. Not even California. On the other hand, there is an energy alternative that was unknown, not just to the Founders of the USA, but even to the great Scots physicists Maxwell and Kelvin. The latter computed the age of the Earth at 40 million years, which is [i]less than a hundredth[/i] of the value we now know. The difference is the Earth's primeval store of long lived radioactive elements, uranium and thorium in particular. China is showing an interest in breeder reactors, as is India, which has particularly good sources of thorium. But the USA has [b][i]already[/i][/b] developed a technology (terrorist proof, meltdown proof, proliferation resistant) for safely turning [i]all[/i] of the uranium mined and refined, into energy. It was called the Integral Fast Reactor, see http://skepticva.org/IFR.html or the Frontline site I copied it from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/interviews/till.html Then again, thorium. Th-232 plus a neutron -> Th-233->Pa-233->U-233. Uranium 233 is fissile. The whole process can be encouraged, given a starter of fissile uranium or plutonium, in a reactor which has thorium and uranium fluorides dissolved in a liquid of lithium and beryllium fluorides. Back in the days of the AEC, Alvin Weinberg recommended it as having the advantage of allowing continuous refuelling, and east disposal of the small quantities of fission waste.
How about the US consumers NOT BUYING anything Chinese ? If they are willing to pay the higher price to see that their money feeds some American worker and not a Chinese one the problem will get sorted automatically. Just as an example I am pretty sure everyone who owns a mobile phone can do without upgrading to the latest one for one more year. This can be a beginning to teach the likes of Apples and Walmarts a lesson they would never forget.
Most of the failed or failing solar companies in the US are union shops. Most of the survivors are non-union shops.
Maybe this is rather simplistic, but China needs the U.S. as a trading partner, but the U.S. doesn't need China. If companies started producing quality goods in the U.S. and stop buying tainted, poor-quality Chinese goods just because they are cheap, the unemployment situation in the U.S. would improve. I am certainly willing to pay more for American made goods, but they are extremely diffisult to find. It is a fact that American manufacturing did quite well before the large corporations started manufacturing goods in China. It appears that greed is the only objective. Bring the jobs back to America and allow this country to prosper again. And......stop borrowing money from China. Do you hear that Obama?
I encourage all and sundry to read Frederic Bastiat's classic economics essay, "What is seen, and what is not seen," which is freely available on the web. The only people who win in this new trade war are the rent seeking U.S. solar panel manufacturers. The politicians they lobby see the damage done to them and ride to the tariff rescue. This is what is seen. This is what is unseen: Consumers lose - they bear the brunt of increased solar panel prices. The solar industry as whole loses, because solar power remains less cost competitive, and fewer consumers will adopt it. Companies that make their living by installing solar panels? Sorry, you lose, too, as your services will be less widely employed. Innovation and increased efficiency? This, too, suffers. Tariffs are form of subsidy, too. Are Chinese subsidies of their solar panel manufacturers unfair? Yes, of course they are. But consider, the people who suffer as a result are Chinese citizens. It's their wallets being fleeced by their government to support a favored industry. But what about U.S. solar manufacturers? Surely their injury is real? Yes, it is. But consider, sans tariffs, they would either a) increase manufacturing efficiency to continue to compete effectively, or b) turn to manufacturing some other product. Anyway you slice it, the American consumer wins. And those companies that opt for the admittedly challenging option a) win, too, as they gain a competitive advantage in the long term. Tariffs are bad. Period. As for the Chinese, the market imbalances engendered by their socialist central planners will sort themselves out, sooner, or later, and not to the benefit of the Chinese ruling class. One need only be a casual observer of history to understand this.
There is no reason to allow there panels to be sold in the USA. They have already ruined this country's Industrial base. Put large tarrifs on everything from China, time tho USA market made its own ....everything...Put Americans back to work.
You are willing to pay more for American? How about solar panels, do you even use them? Are you willing to pay $7/watt for POOR quality American over $1.10/watt for a superior Chinese product? Paying an american $35-50 for a manufacturing line job is not a bright thing to do but that is how unions have caused the cost of our goods to skyrocket. Talk is cheap, and I doubt you really are willing to buy "American" even if it costs more.
Tariffs don't seem to be hurting the countries that tariff our products! When I was a kid I remember seeing news that a Ford Pinto was $13,000 in Japan while they were selling for $4,000 here and Toyota Corollas were $3000 here. Lets stop the double standards.
It has been this same flawed logic that has helped decimate our manufacturing base. Just the simple comment that sans tarifs the existing manufacturers would either magically become more effecient or switch to manufacturing something else is pure fantasy! Think back to the days before all the multinationals and WalMarts. Goods in general were a bit more expensive but still fairly affordable since we also had a healthy middle class fed from a healthy manufacturing industry. We are now consumer slaves to China.
I live off grid and use solar plus wind. I am attempting to buy additional solar panels and a tariff does not help anyone but the feeling of idiots like you. America can not compete in manufacturing if unions require a person running a screwdriver to get $35-50/hour plus benefits. You actually think that charging customers an additional tax of over 35% helps. The tax does not increase jobs and the crap solar panel made here in the US cost more than 3 times what a higher quality Chinese panel does. China did not, has not and can not destroy our manufacturing base. Only overpaid low skilled workers that demand asinine wages for simple jobs destroy American manufacturing...that and fools like you who support taxing Americans to support overpaid union jobs. I challenge you to go through your house and remove everything made in China and your American made car probably has less than 20%of the components made in the USA. If you car is from an American manufacturer, which I doubt. Don't stop at Chinese goods, remove all the products made in India, south America as well.
I am not a union person so I am not trying to defend the pay scales for them but it seems to me that both sides could give a little bit!
Harrim, I suggest you read the following: http://ncf.uschamber.com/blog/2012/03/manufacturing%E2%80%99s-declining-share-gdp Manufacturing as a % of GDP has gone down, but this is because overall GDP has continued to grow. In fact, the U.S. remains a major global manufacturer. I suspect your animus stems from the loss of manufacturing jobs. This results from automation of manufacturing, not loss of manufacturing output. And as a result of manufacturing automation and globalization of supply chains, goods are cheaper now than *ever* before (not to mention of higher quality and greater durability). That's good for everybody. If you come from a family that depends on factory work to make a living, you might not be overly enthused by these trends. As opposed to whining about it, you might concentrate instead on developing skills that are actually valuable in a service/information economy.
Why is it always the guy on the line whose pay you bitch about? We have idiots sitting atop companies that are stealing millions from true owners of companies. They are called stockholders and the idiots stealing the money are CEOs making 20 million dollars a year. They started the problem with stupid pay scale. If you work in company where CEO makes 20 million, you will want to be as overpaid as management. Just think how easy it would be for one of the big 3 auto makers to dominate their industry. If just one CEO said my salary will be topped at 3 million, how much easy it would be to negotiate with unions. It all starts at the top, its called leadership. These guys now days dont even know how a product is built, why would I follow someone who has no understanding of how product is assembled. There is no loyalty to company or product it is all about making as much as possible by doing as little as possible and this all started when CEOs started getting paid like they actually owned company when they are actually no more than a employee just like a janitor, he has no more skin in the game than average worker because it was not his dream nor his money that started company. All I ask is look at total picture before placing blame. It used to be person at the top was actually the smartest person in the room. Now theyre just the greediest.
If you truly believe in globalization where general labor jobs are shipped abroad and then products are brought back to USA in shipping lanes protected by US military at a cost to all taxpayers by way of our vary bloated Defense Budget which is another very little talked about hidden subsidy to these companies why not go all the way and outsource management jobs to other countries as Japanese CEOs have proven to be very good at their jobs, when companys profit plunge they step down and compensation is much lower? Top 100 companies by market capitalization in Japan CEOs average $1.5 million compared to USA CEOs average $13.3 million. No designer suits, private jets or multimillion dollar houses, just think how much cheaper product could be if company truly cared about producing product at rock bottom price, not just increasing profits and taking care of over compensated talent. You see we could outsource everything to get great prices, but if no one has job, no one can afford anything no matter the price. No consumer, no demand equals no company. It is all a matter of balance. Right now there is no balance. Rich get richer; everyone else and I mean everyone else, not just the poor get poorer. Some are still in denial about it, but its very real for those without work. Renewable energy is a jobs program waiting to explode. The country that recognizes this will be the world leader; if we keep letting cowards lead us we all will be poorer. CEO pay. Source is from article in Bloomberg Businessweek Feb. 10, 2009
Be carefull on making assumptions. I'm on my third decade of being an engineer in IT. The loss of some manufacturing jobs is inevitable due to automaiton and my own field. My animus stems from the actual manufacturing being off-shored. That leads to the loss of tax revinues and support jobs that no matter the amount of automation still are needed. That on top of the fact that without the manufacture base we are doomed to always have a trade deficit. This is the direct result of the "Service Economy" spouted in the 80s. Without a strong middle class we cannot possibly grow. Have you tried to find something truly made in this country aside from a car? The overwhelming majority of consumer products are imported as well as a large portion of parts that are assembled here. btw My "whining" is when I hear total misinformation from fools.
Most of the failed solar companies have been union shops. Most of the survivors are non-union shops. Most union bosses make a larger salary than the small business owners forced to negotiate with them. The union organizers trying to make my friends machine shop go union make twice the pay of most of the people on the line. Trying to decertify a shop from a crooked union is like a bad divorce that will not end. Just ask the thousands of people in California fighting to get rid of the SEIU. http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2009/02/02/daily22.html
How right you are Dennyinusa. Most companies are so top heavy it isn't funny. It is high time that we look at those salaries. When you see several layers of management that are used to pad the upper guys. Then you see a company that is doing well hire one of the corporate types and they come in a ruin it by using failed corporate tactics. So sad that people cannot see that. I would love just once to see the total salaries for union as well as management for a large company make sure you count all of the benefits.