China founds PV association

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In a statement that will delight renewable energy champions worldwide – and is just as likely to be seen as a terrifying statement of intent by solar manufacturers in the Western world – Jifan Gao, head of the newly-founded Chinese Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) said the new body "will unify PV enterprises across China to achieve a common goal of bringing affordable solar energy to the world."

A press release issued by US solar investor Warren Buffett‘s PR Newswire company, announced Gao, the chairman and CEO of Chinese solar manufacturer Trina Solar, was today elected the first president of the CPIA at a founding ceremony and member congress in Beijing.

The industry body’s stated aim of establishing ‘a free and fair trade environment globally for Chinese PV enterprises’ could mean a busy time for the Trina chief, who was elected to a five-year term at the head of the organization.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is set to announce next month whether it will apply anti dumping (AD) duties to Chinese solar products featuring Taiwanese cells, in a bid to close a loophole in a regime which already enforces steep duties on all-Chinese products.

With pro-tariff advocates SolarWorld pressing the U.S. to launch a trade case against Chinese companies at the World Trade Organization as a result of the fallout from the recent cyber crime indictment and with the Indian government considering whether to implement the recommendation of its ministry of commerce to slap AD duties on dumped Chinese cells and panels, obtaining a free and fair environment for Chinese exports would appear to be far from plain sailing.

CPIA to act as Chinese PV advocate

At least the new body would appear to be pushing on an open door with its stated ambition of being an advocate ‘with policymakers to support the promotion and adoption of renewable energy in China,’ especially in the wake of the ITC finding Chinese solar exports benefited from unfair state subsidies, an opinion shared by the EU, according to the findings of the Indian AD investigation.

The new body, according to PR Newswire, numbers 149 members including major manufacturers Yingli, Canadian Solar, Jinko Solar, GCL and JA Solar as well as developers Huanghe Hydropower, GD Solar, TBEA Sunaoasis and the like.

The CPIA statement announced the new body would seek to establish ‘positive co-operation’ with peer groups including the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and America’s Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) as well as Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI).

The founding of the CPIA could be seen as a positive step among anti-duty groups which are pushing for President Barack Obama to negotiate an agreement with the Chinese authorities to halt the damaging cycle of tit-for-tat trade measures.

But with no negitaited settlement in sight, and the CPIA saying it wants to drive the ‘healthy and sustainable development of the solar industry,’ Pro-tariff groups such as SolarWorld and EU Prosun could be forgiven for asking ‘for whom?’