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Chinese Solar Companies Disputing SolarWorld’s Trade Complaint

Chinese solar manufacturers, which last year produced more than 55 percent of the world’s panels, say SolarWorld AG’s U.S. trade complaint is one-sided.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. denied engaging in unfair trade practices, without addressing assertions that they sell products below cost. They said they hold themselves to “fair international trade practices” and are “confident in their positions,” in statements responding to the complaint by SolarWorld Industries Americas Inc.

SolarWorld’s U.S. unit and six other panel manufacturers filed a complaint Oct. 19 with the International Trade Commission seeking to slap duties on more than $1 billion of Chinese imports. The companies alleged unfair state aid that undercuts competition. The Chinese Commerce Ministry said the claim was regretful.

“We would like to remind everyone that such petitions obviously present only the views of one side, and only a partial view of a very complicated story,” Baoding-based Yingli said today in a statement.

“Anyone can file one of these actions; having filed an action is in no way a validation from the U.S. government as to the merits of the action,” Wuxi-based Suntech saidyesterday.

If Chinese solar manufacturers are no longer able to export to the U.S. because of the duties, there will be significant impacts on U.S. manufacturing equipment and raw material manufacturers, resulting in a “lose-lose” situation, the Commerce Ministry said today today in a statement.

The U.S. exported more solar products last year than it imported, by $1.9 billion, according to an August report from the Washington-based trade group Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research. Polysilicon, the raw material in solar cells, and manufacturing equipment made up the majority of the $5.63 billion in exports, and much of that went to China. The U.S. imported $2.4 billion in solar panels.

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