Washington, D.C., December 2, 2011 – The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), seven U.S. manufacturers of crystalline silicon solar cells and modules, today welcomed the support of 59 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for CASM's trade case against China's unfair trading practices in the solar industry. They sent the letter this morning to President Barack Obama to endorse the Coalition's petitions for anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese solar imports.
Signed by six Senate Democrats and 53 House Democrats, the letter said, in part: "This case comes at a critical juncture for the U.S. clean energy technology sector and underscores the need to ensure a level playing field for American businesses and workers, not just in the solar arena but for all clean energy technologies, since many of the same issues confronted by the U.S. solar industry exist in other sectors as well. U.S. manufacturers and workers in the clean energy technology sectors are at a major competitive disadvantage as a result of these and other foreign government measures."
The letter was initiated by Sen. Ron Wyden (Oregon), chairman of the International Trade, Customs and International Competitiveness Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, and Reps. Edward J. Markey (Massachusetts) and Sander Levin (Michigan), the ranking member on the House Natural Resources and Ways and Means Committees, respectively.
Chinese exports of solar cells and modules to the United States rose more than 350 percent from 2008 to 2010. Import data reveal that in the first eight months of 2011 alone, imports from China totaled $1.6 billion, more than in all of 2010. In fact, Chinese exports in the month of July 2011 alone exceeded those from all of 2010. Chinese dumping has played a significant role in causing seven U.S. solar plants to close or downsize during the past 18 months, eliminating thousands of jobs in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania. According to CASM, Chinese producers enjoy no production cost advantage.
"This letter is just another example of increasing congressional concern about China's highly questionable trade practices in key economic sectors," said Gordon Brinser, president of Oregon-based SolarWorld Industries America Inc., the leader of CASM and the named petitioner in the case. "We appreciate supportive statements from President Barack Obama and, now, the support of the 59 members of Congress who are willing to stand up in support of American manufacturing and jobs, fair international competition and America's energy security."
The next step in the SolarWorld case will be a today's vote by the U.S. International Trade Commission on whether dumped and subsidized Chinese exports have harmed the domestic industry. If it finds in favor of the CASM petition, the first possible determination of remedies or "critical circumstances" could come as soon as Jan. 12, 2012, meaning importers of record could later be required to deposit estimated duties on imports back to Oct. 14, 2011. The Commerce Department initiated the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on Nov. 9, 2011, determining that the petition had the support of the U.S. solar cell and module industry.
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The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) is made up of seven companies that manufacture solar cells and modules in the United States and more than 150 employers of more than 11,000 American workers that have registered their support as associated members of CASM. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org; other questions or comments may be emailed to email@example.com.
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