Solar group urges withdrawal of US v China trade case

CASE sent a letter to Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., pushing for Solarworld’s CASM to withdraw its US v China PV trade petition with the International Trade Commission and Department of Commerce.

December 21, 2011 — The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) sent a letter to Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., pushing for Solarworld’s Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) to withdraw its US v China PV trade petition with the International Trade Commission (ITC) and Department of Commerce.

Read the letter here: http://coalition4affordablesolar.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/letter-to-solar-world-12_20.pdf

CASE president Jigar Shah calls the tariffs SolarWorld seeks in the case “severe,” saying they would “have a very damaging effect on the solar industry in the United States.” Shah writes that the petition “threatens the planned installation of solar electric power systems in the amount of $11 billion in 2012 and the potential installation of $60 billion currently in the total pipeline.”

The letter also calls attention to US/China trade relations and the possibility of a “solar trade war” of tariffs between the countries. “Last year alone, the U.S. had well over $1.5 billion in solar exports to China, with net exports to China of some $400 million,” Shah states, and offers the opinion that the trade case could jepordize solar exports to China as well as thousands of American jobs.

(Shah also notes that any Chinese retaliatory request for an investigation into US clean energy policies “would presumably look into Oregon’s clean energy support policies” — a not-so-veiled swipe at SolarWorld and its operations there.)

Firing back, CASM calls the letter “inappropriate bluster,” asserting that Shah and Chinese manufacturers “are well aware” of both “their illegal trade practices” and the impact on the US economy. “We are confident that the Commerce Department and the US International Trade Commission will rule in our favor,” the group says, and therefore it has “no intention of withdrawing our petitions.” Meanwhile, Solarworld sent out its own PR with new statements of support, as well as confirming that it actually grew sales in the US over the past year “despite abruptly lower industry pricing.”

Also read: US v China PV trade dispute becomes war of words

CASE is a coalition of 145 member companies with over 14,000 solar-industry employees in more than 24 states. To learn more about the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), visit www.coalition4affordablesolar.org.

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