WASHINGTON, D.C., March 20, 2012 — The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) today reacted to the U.S. Department of Commerce's preliminary determination, in response to a case brought by SolarWorld Industries America Inc., that China's subsidization of solar exports into the U.S. market is illegal and warrants trade remedies.
The preliminary determination signals Commerce's intention to impose a duty of 4.73 percent on U.S. imports from Trina Solar, 2.9 percent from Suntech, and 3.6 percent from all other remaining Chinese manufacturers. These duties are in line with Commerce's findings in other countervailing duties cases involving China. As a result, importers of record will be required to post bonds or cash deposits with the federal government toward the value of the estimated duties on imports of Chinese modules and panels. Moreover, the Commerce Department found that some of the subsidies were export subsidies so, because of an earlier finding of "critical circumstances," these duties will be retroactive 90 days from the day when the ruling is published in the Federal Register. This covers imports back to late December 2011.
Commerce is will continue to investigate all subsidy programs, including newly alleged subsidies such as glass. Because all subsidy programs have not been fully investigated, the final subsidy margins could well be higher.
In addition, Commerce is scheduled to make a preliminary ruling on May 16 on whether Chinese manufacturers have illegally dumped solar products on the U.S. market at artificially low prices and, if so, what additional duties should be imposed on those imports.
"Today's announcement affirms what U.S. manufacturers have long known: Chinese manufacturers have received unfair and WTO-illegal subsidies," said Steve Ostrenga, chief executive officer of Helios Solar Works in Milwaukee, Wis., a founding manufacturer of CASM. "We appreciate the Commerce Department's hard work in bringing these subsidies to light, and we look forward to addressing all of China's unfair trade practices in the solar industry."
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that the Chinese government provided its manufacturers with more than $30 billion in subsidies. As a result of China's subsidies as well as its industry's dumped pricing, CASM contends, at least 12 domestic producers have undertaken layoffs, gone bankrupt or closed plants in all regions of the country over the past two years.
"If we address unfair trade practices in the U.S. solar market, we can get back to our business of expanding American manufacturing and jobs in the renewable energy sector," said Carlo Santoro, director of business development at MX Solar USA in Somerset, N.J., a founding manufacturing member of CASM. "We look forward to getting back to the fair and legal competition that serves everyone best."
CASM earlier this month released a report that found the United States swung from a small surplus in solar product trade with China in 2010 to a $1.6 billion trade deficit in 2011. This swing unfolded despite the fact that a National Renewable Energy Laboratory presentation concludes Chinese manufacturers actually face a 5 percent cost disadvantage in producing and delivering solar into the American market, compared with U.S. manufacturers. Moreover, the Chinese producers built some 16 times more manufacturing capacity than it needed to satisfy domestic demand, then exported more than 95 percent of production.
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The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing is made up of seven companies that manufacture solar cells and modules in the United States as well as more than 150 employers of more than 11,000 workers who have registered their support for CASM's case as associate members. These member companies 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.com; email media questions to email@example.com; other questions or comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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