The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) – about 250 solar-technology installers, producers and other businesses who employ a total of nearly 25,000 Americans – protested the government of China’s imposition of duties against U.S. and Korean producers of polysilicon, the main raw material for production of photovoltaic solar cells and panels.
Once again applying a tactic that it has abused, China mounted the polysilicon case immediately after SolarWorld, with support from CASM, filed initial trade cases against China’s state-backed solar cell and panel producers in October 2011. On Monday, China announced final duties of up to 57 percent against U.S. polysilicon imports. CASM said the imposition of retaliatory tariffs came even as China heralded new opportunities for its solar-panel industry to access illegal, export-intensive subsidies.
China’s adjudication of its case, CASM also said, was neither transparent nor shown to be supported by facts, yet it will harm U.S. producers anyway. China processed its claims without the kinds of open, adversarial and investigative proceedings that the U.S. government applied in SolarWorld’s cases.
CASM said China brought the polysilicon case to divide U.S. finished-products manufacturers against polysilicon manufacturing suppliers, punish the U.S. government’s adjudication of SolarWorld’s cases in favor of the domestic industry and increase leverage for all manner of trade issues with the U.S. government.
U.S. solar-panel manufacturers continue to suffer layoffs, bankruptcies and other harms and China keeps propping up its own producers as both industries suffer from China’s steps to designate the industry as a strategic target within its Five-Year Planning Process, support its industry with export-directed subsidies, trigger enormous factory overcapacity, price products below production costs in the U.S. market, harvest U.S.-taxpayer-funded solar incentives and enjoy access to the U.S. market, including military bases, while keeping its borders closed to foreign competitors.
Meantime, CASM said, China keeps flooding the U.S. market with state-underwritten solar products that increasingly are cited as the source of sharply higher defect rates. China’s precipitous industry entry and the ensuing rise in faulty panels came in the wake of America’s decades of pioneering and optimizing the industry.
“China’s retaliation against the U.S. industry violates international trade rules,” said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., the largest U.S. manufacturer for more than 35 years. “Time and time again, these retaliatory cases have been found to be without merit.”
The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing includes about 240 employers of more than 22,000 workers who have registered their support for CASM’s case. The founding manufacturers have plants in nearly every region in the United States, including the Northwest and California, the Southwest, Midwest, Northeast and South and support several thousand U.S. manufacturing jobs. For details about CASM, go to www.americansolarmanufacturing.org; email media questions to [email protected]; other questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected]