SolarWorld Applauds Trade Panel for Vote to Counter Illegal Chinese Trade Practices

  SolarWorld Applauds Trade Panel for Vote to Counter Illegal Chinese Trade
  Practices

Company pledges to continue to fight for fair and legal solar-industry trade

Business Wire

HILLSBORO, Ore. -- November 07, 2012

SolarWorld, 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 October 2011.

“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 energy independence.”

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 domestic
industry.”

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 export goals.

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 manufacturers.

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.

Contact:

SolarWorld Industries America Inc.
Devon Cichoski
Media Relations Manager
Office: 805-388-6388
Mobile: 805-377-2905
Devon.Cichoski@SolarWorldUSA.com
 
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