the largest U.S. solar producer for more than 35 years, cheered the U.S.
International Trade Commission (ITC) today for its unanimous final
finding that illegally subsidized and dumped Chinese imports of
crystalline silicon solar cells and panels have hurt domestic
manufacturers. The decision, along with all major preceding rulings,
validates the central contention of SolarWorld’s trade cases that the
government of China is staging an illegal, anticompetitive export drive
at the expense of U.S. manufacturing and jobs, the company said.
However, the company said in light of China’s apparent determination to
prop up its excessive production capacity at any cost, it would continue
to pursue all relevant options to address China’s improper trade
practices. The goal, according to the company, is to revive the domestic
industry, fair competition and economic growth in the U.S.
solar-manufacturing market at a time when demand is robustly expanding.
The 6-0 vote by the ITC will activate final anti-subsidy and
anti-dumping duties on Chinese imports that the U.S. Department of
Commerce issued in October, ranging from a combined rate of about 24
percent up to more than 250 percent, depending on the company, according
to SolarWorld. The ITC determination is the final step in the trade case
investigations, among the biggest brought against China, filed in
"U.S. producers are grateful for the diligence that the ITC and its
staff invested in this complex case at the crossroads of the world’s
energy future,” said Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries
America Inc., based in Oregon. "The vote comes too late for hundreds of
American workers laid off from more than two dozen U.S. factories that
China’s state-sponsored export campaign drove into financial peril. But
the decision offers some hope to survivors that China might be held
accountable to its legal obligations and that this U.S.-pioneered
industry might see a fair chance to play a growing role in the nation’s
For example, SolarWorld said it has pulled further ahead as the world
technology leader, offering a 270-watt, 60-cell panel – the world’s
first – as it invests yet another $27 million in technological and
manufacturing advances in its Oregon plant and $62 million in its plants
worldwide. The addition brings SolarWorld’s total investment in Oregon
to more than $610 million without federal subsidies to support
development of its operations there, according to the company.
"While SolarWorld continues to innovate, the Chinese government has
doubled-down on its trade-distorting practices,” Brinser said. "It is
bailing out individual companies, keeping afloat massive excesses of
production capacity and otherwise continuing to intervene in the U.S.
market by underwriting a no-holds-barred export drive. Moreover, under
government support, Chinese companies are pursuing ways to circumvent
duties, partly by availing themselves of a loophole that Commerce
created when it redefined the scope of SolarWorld’s cases.
"SolarWorld will continue to fight for a clean, legal and competitive
Supported by the 227-employer Coalition for American Solar
Manufacturing, SolarWorld said the cases aimed to stop the Chinese
government from investing massive improper subsidies to underwrite its
solar industry’s export campaign and dump products, or sell them at
artificially low prices, to seize U.S. market share.
Just as the solar industry reached a tipping point into mainstream
adoption, SolarWorld said, China launched its export drive into the U.S.
solar market, as part of its central five-year planning process
targeting emerging "strategic industries.” The Chinese industry enjoyed
neither a background in the industry nor any technological, production
or cost advantage. Rather, it was the object of the Chinese government’s
On Oct. 10, Commerce called for anti-dumping duties of 31.73 percent on
imports of solar photovoltaic cells and panels from Suntech, 18.32
percent from Trina Solar, 25.96 percent from other companies that had
requested but not received individual duty determinations and 249.96
percent from all other Chinese producers, including those controlled by
the Chinese government. In addition, the department recommended
anti-subsidy duties of 14.78 percent for imports made by Suntech, 15.97
percent Trina Solar and 15.24 percent for all other Chinese
Commerce’s scope covers photovoltaic cells produced or assembled into
panels in China but not panels made from cells produced in third
countries, creating a loophole for Chinese producers to get around
duties. SolarWorld’s initial, broader scope had covered all cells and
panels produced in China.
SolarWorld submitted its trade cases on behalf of a coalition of seven
domestic manufacturers, including Helios Solar Works of Wisconsin and MX
Solar USA of New Jersey. Thereafter, the coalition in favor of
sustainable production, domestic manufacturing and trade free of illegal
foreign government intervention swelled to 227 solar-industry companies
employing more than 18,000 American workers. More than 85 percent of
CASM members are downstream operators, such as installers and financiers.
About SolarWorld (www.SolarWorld.com)
SolarWorld manufactures solar power systems and in doing so contributes
to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. The company, headquarted in Bonn,
employs about 3,000 people and carries out production in Freiberg,
Germany, and Hillsboro, Oregon, USA. From raw material silicon to the
solar module, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ? including
its own research and development. Through an international distribution
network, SolarWorld supplies customers all over the world with solar
modules and complete systems. The company maintains high social
standards at all locations across the globe and has committed itself to
resource- and energy-efficient production. SolarWorld has been publicly
traded on the stock market since 1999 and is quoted in the technology
index TecDax. SolarWorld achieved sales of about 1 billion Euros for the
fiscal year 2011.