SolarWorld calls for focused response

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Brinser said in a speech at the Conference for the Renaissance of American Manufacturing at the National Press Club in Washington that he recommends revisions in the U.S. government’s response to incursions of "predatory trade aggression" from non-market economies like China. He believes this will be the way to rekindle U.S. manufacturing and jobs.

Brinser spoke to the 250-strong crowd adding that the U.S. government has to "sharpen and speed its practice of identifying, investigating and remedying illegal trade practices and develop a better strategy to address foreign state-owned enterprises and how they affect U.S. industries and markets".

His recommendations to the government include:

  • Use its new Interagency Trade Enforcement Unit to closely monitor import data for early signs of market distortions spurred by foreign governments;
  • Look hard at ways to preserve an open, transparent process for trade cases but in fewer steps and less time;
  • Aggressively find ways to anticipate and halt circumvention of trade remedies and theft of intellectual property;
  • Bring legitimate cases for industries that are too small or injured to afford them; and
  • Shed light on foreign companies that raise capital on U.S. exchanges and then withhold audit information from securities regulators.

SolarWorld is advancing trade cases against China’s state-sponsored solar industry with support from more than 180 companies representing more than 15,000 employees.

In a preliminary ruling on December 2, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted 6-0 that Chinese trade practices had hurt the U.S. manufacturing industry. In a preliminary ruling on March 19, the Department of Commerce imposed preliminary duties averaging 3.75 percent and retroactive 90 days to neutralize the subsidies’ impact on the U.S. industry.

Commerce will rule on May 16 (and announce on May 17) whether to impose duties to offset any illegal dumping of solar products at artificially low prices and, if so, at what percentage margins.