Posting in Energy
The U.S. division of a German solar power conglomerate and six unnamed U.S. firms have filed formal complaints asking for trade duties to be imposed upon Chinese goods.
Amid challenging market conditions, a coalition of U.S. based solar manufactures is demanding that the Obama administration take more aggressive action against alleged unfair competition from China.
SolarWorld USA, the U.S. subsidiary of the vertically integrated Germany solar conglomerate SolarWorld Industries, today filed complaints with the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission. Six other U.S. firms joined in the filings.
The complainants say that China is giving its domestic producers an unfair advantage through an illicit combination of cash grants, sweetheart loans, and tax incentives, in addition to currency manipulation and markdowns on raw materials.
They are asking that dumping and subsidy duties be placed on Chinese imports. "Let us be clear, China has a plan for our market--to gut it and own it," Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries Americas, told the press.
It bears mentioning that the U.S. also subsidizes renewable energy through Department of Energy loans, and the U.S. military only buys home built renewable technologies.
The Obama administration has stated that China was illegally subsidizing its renewable energy sector. It also sought to diversify the industry’s supply chain, because China has a monopoly on the rare earth minerals that are required by solar and wind turbine manufacturers.
A leading Chinese manufacturer, Suntech, advised U.S. politicians not to engage in “protectionism,” which it said would place jobs at risk and hamper solar power’s ability to compete with more traditional energy sources.
I expect that we’ll hear more about this topic in the build up to the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. Democrats are moving forward with hearings and legislation addressing Chinese imports, with some Republican support. Other Republicans questioned the viability of the U.S.'s ability to compete against China.
The G20 has refrained from taking action on currency manipulation, and the Obama administration has shelved an anticipated report on the issue. A Treasury Department report in May found that China’s yuan was undervalued, but not being manipulated.
The Chinese government has been assertive in its responses to U.S. accusations of unfair trading practices, briefly freezing exports of rare earth minerals to United States in 2010. It is likely to take a similar tact in the future.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- China bans rare earth exports to U.S.
- Obama administration digs into China's rare earth monopoly
- Uncle Sam orders military to only buy American
- Politicians grapple over U.S's ability to compete in renewables
Oct 19, 2011
Well almost all solar firms get governments sub one way or the other. I would prefer they fight together in the market place and the winner will get my job. Ask why first solar is so good because their panels are so eff. (~2X of the Chinese competitors) and good (quality) that they beat out any Chinese import. Is that what we looking for? How many more Solyndroal do we want to have?