U.S. Solar Companies' Complaint Driven by Envy, China Says
Last week, we discussed how seven U.S. solar manufacturers filed a petition with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission for the U.S. government to raise duties on Chinese solar imports by more than 100%. In their petition, these solar manufacturers argued that they have been injured by Chinese manufacturers' dumping of crystalline solar cells on the U.S. market at prices below production costs. China Energy News reported today that this was a foolish, misguided attempt at trade protectionism driven by jealousy.
In a front-page summary, China Energy News said that "the rapid development of the Chinese companies has attracted envious eyes overseas," according to a Reuters article. The Chinese summary said that the Obama administration had failed to live up to its promises of expanding the renewable energy industry, and that solar manufacturers were using these failures as an excuse to force the government into trade protectionism. China's Commerce Ministry has warned the U.S. not to take protectionist measures in the solar industry market because this could harm the global economy.
The industry itself is skeptical about this petition, fearing a trade war could hamper solar industry growth. The price drop in solar panels has expanded the solar energy market, causing a dramatic increase in solar panel installations. The remedy for dumping, which would raise the price of Chinese-manufactured solar panels, might curb installations, especially in light of dwindling government incentives.
The Department of Commerce has said that a full investigation could take fourteen months.