SolarWorld petitions against Chinese PV dumping

20. October 2011 | Global PV markets, Markets & Trends, Top News, Trade cases | By:  Jonathan Gifford

SolarWorld Industries America has submitted a petition to the U.S. Deparment of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission in protest to, what it claims, is Chinese photovoltaic manufacturers dumping product to capture market share. The company has done so with the support of a group of U.S. manufacturers.

Frank Asbeck presents an award on stage.

SolarWorld's Frank Asbeck (right) has long been an industry leader and has taken the cause of German and U.S. manufacturers to the U.S. Government. Image: Solar Impulse.

In a four-volume petition, SolarWorld and its allies have accused the Chinese photovoltaic industry of "inundating the U.S. market with solar cells and panels at dumped prices to systematically secure a higher market share." Such behavior, SolarWorld claims, constitutes unfair trade practices.

Citing "a large number of subsidies and preferential treatment," a statement announcing the delivery of the petition claims that the Chinese Government is facilitating such practices. These support mechanisms allow Chinese manufacturers to, "make price cuts well beyond their own efficiency and to massively expand the export of its goods," the statement continues.

SolarWorld Goup Chairman and CEO Frank Asbeck has made similar claims in the German media previously.

Gordon Brinser, President of the U.S. subsidiary SolarWorld Industries America elaborated the companies’ claims in the statement: "China has no cost advantages – not even through very low wages. In the case of high-tech products like solar power modules and solar cells, the share of labor costs is very low. In our case, for example, it is below ten percent."

Chinese manufacturer Suntech has issued a statement in response to the allegations and petition saying that trade restrictions resultant from such a petition would hamper the industry’s competition with traditional energy sources.

"The U.S. is a major contributor to the fast-growing global solar industry and a net exporter of solar products to China and the world. A solar trade war would deal a major blow to the global economy and to our common goal of achieving a clean energy future."

The group behind the petition is calling itself the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing.

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