The U.S. subsidiary of the SolarWorld Group, SolarWorld Industries America Inc., supported by a group of additional U.S. manufacturers of solar power technology, started a petition before the government in Washington, D.C., against the growing flood of cheap imports from China. In doing so, they are challenging the state-subsidized Chinese solar industry that for some time has been inundating the U.S. market with solar cells and panels at dumped prices to systematically secure a higher market share. This action against unfair trade practices is one of the largest against China in the United States, and it is the first in the field of renewable energy worldwide.
Dr.-Ing. E. h. Frank Asbeck, Chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG: “Our German and U.S. factories are fully competitive internationally – but China’s unfair trade practices must be addressed.”
In the four-volume petition submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission, the companies challenge the Chinese industry’s dumped pricing and illegal subsidies, thus protesting against the destruction of domestic jobs. With a large number of subsidies and preferential treatments, the Chinese government and its state authorities have enabled its solar industry to make price cuts well beyond their own efficiency and to massively expand the export of its goods. Many documented cases of violations of social, quality and environmental standards that regulate production sites in the U.S. and Germany have also been discovered.
Gordon Brinser, President of the U.S. subsidiary SolarWorld Industries America Inc.: “China has no cost advantages – not even through very low wages. In the case of high-tech products like solar power modules and solar cells, the share of labor costs is very low. In our case, for example, it is below ten percent.” China’s alleged wage cost advantages would be compensated for by higher overhead and transport costs. “The Chinese industry’s ability to offer dumping prices is solely attributable to massive subsidies by the Chinese State Banks and the Chinese government.” Evidence of these illegal trade practices is provided by U.S. companies united in the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing in their several-hundred-page four-volume documents to support the petition.