China's PV manufacturers launch new alliance in response to trade case ruling

24. May 2012 | Top News, Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends, Trade cases | By:  Eckhart Gouras

CEOs from China’s four largest photovoltaic manufacturers were gathered today, May 24, at a press conference in Shanghai, China, to launch the Solar Energy Promotion Alliance and comment on the latest U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) ruling regarding the dumping of crystalline silicon cells in the U.S. market.

Shanghai

The press conference was held today in Shanghai.

The preliminary DOC ruling was issued last Thursday, during China’s biggest photovoltaic tradeshow, SNEC. Coming on top of much lower countervailing duties announced earlier this year by DOC, the high anti-dumping tariffs of 31 percent unveiled on May 16 have surprised the photovoltaic manufacturers in China.

It has also alarmed many in the U.S. industry, since higher tariffs are bound to bring higher module prices, thereby undermining the competitiveness of solar in the U.S. at a time of very low natural gas prices – another resource for generating electricity in the U.S.

Sponsored by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME), today’s press conference had two objectives: (i) to make clear that the Chinese photovoltaic industry does not accept the reasoning put forth by DOC for the imposition of preliminary anti-dumping tariffs; and (ii) to launch a powerful alliance of Chinese module manufacturers to provide a forum for them to meet and further develop their industry.

Regarding the first point, the Chinese photovoltaic industry does not accept the way DOC has classified it as a "non-market economy". According to the official statement released today "… DOC determined that such a high dumping margin mainly because it denies Chinese market economy treatment, ignores the fact that Chinese companies operate following the rule of the market economy, and applies the cost of companies from a surrogate country for unfair competition. On this unreasonable ground … DOC determined the existence of dumping and calculated dumping margin for Chinese companies. This approach is inconsistent with the status quo of China’s market economy and highlights the trend of U.S. trade protectionism."

On the other hand, Chinese suppliers understand that they have to work together more to boost the image of their industry and better fend off such attacks from overseas. This is the rationale for launching SEPA, the Solar Energy Promotion Alliance.

The founding members are the four leading Chinese module suppliers: Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., Canadian Solar Inc., Trina Solar Limited and Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited. More members will reportedly be recruited during this year and, according to the CCCME representative introducing SEPA at the press conference, "in the second half of the year the first assembly of the consortium will be held". This is likely to result in a permanent institution representing the interests of Chinese photovoltaic suppliers.

Stay tuned: pv magazine will report on these developments as they unfold.


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