US solar dispute: war of words continues

Pointing to "damage to America’s burgeoning solar industry that high tariffs on solar cells and panels imported from China could cause", the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) has urged SolarWorld, a German solar cell manufacturer, to withdraw its petition to the International Trade Commission (ITC) and Department of Commerce.

In a letter to Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America, Inc., CASE President Jigar Shah stated, “The severe tariffs SolarWorld seeks would have a very damaging effect on the solar industry in the United States and would fundamentally undermine many years of effort by all of us who care about the future of solar power. In simple dollar terms, your petition threatens the planned installation of solar electric power systems in the amount of US$11 billion in 2012 and the potential installation of US$60 billion currently in the total pipeline.”

Shah also cited the strain the petition could place on U.S.-China trade relations. “The imposition of severe tariffs could ignite a solar trade war that would result in retaliatory tariffs against U.S. solar exports to China. In fact, the Chinese have begun just such an investigation.Last year alone, the U.S. had well over US$1.5 billion in solar exports to China, with net exports to China of some $400 million,” he explained.

However, Brinser's response was far from conciliatory, calling the letter from CASE "inappropriate bluster", and adding, "Jigar Shah and these Chinese manufactures are well aware that their illegal trade practices are harming the U.S. economy and causing thousands of good manufacturing jobs to be lost. SolarWorld and the Coalition for Affordable Solar Manufacturing (CASM) believe that companies and countries who break U.S. and international trade law should be held accountable, and the rule of law should be upheld, in order to maintain a sustainable solar industry in the U.S., and return healthy global competition to the industry".

He reiterated that the CASM would not be withdrawing its action.



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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity