59 US legislators support solar trade group CASM

The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) heralded a letter from 59 members of the US Senate and House of Representatives in favor of CASM’s trade case alleging unfair Chinese trading practices in the solar industry.

December 2, 2011 — The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), a group of US crystalline silicon solar cell and module makers as well as supporters, heralded a letter from 59 members of the US Senate and House of Representatives in favor of CASM?s trade case alleging unfair Chinese trading practices in the solar industry.

The legislators — 6 Senate Democrates and 53 House Democrats — sent the letter to President Barack Obama, endorsing CASM’s petitions for anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese solar imports, ahead of today’s US International Trade Commission vote on the charges. The Commerce Department initiated the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on November 9. President Obama has made prior remarks on the petition: Obama weighs in on SolarWorld’s China allegations

The signees state that CASM’s case comes at “a critical juncture for the U.S. clean energy technology sector” and note that the issues facing the US solar industry in an international market exist in other sectors as well. “U.S. manufacturers and workers in the clean energy technology sectors are at a major competitive disadvantage as a result of these and other foreign government measures.? Read the letter (PDF).

The letter was initiated by Sen. Ron Wyden (Oregon), chairman of the International Trade, Customs and International Competitiveness Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, and Reps. Edward J. Markey (Massachusetts) and Sander Levin (Michigan), the ranking member on the House Natural Resources and Ways and Means Committees, respectively.  

CASM’s data: Chinese exports of solar cells and modules to the United States rose more than 350 percent from 2008 to 2010.  Import data reveal that in the first eight months of 2011 alone, imports from China totaled $1.6 billion, more than in all of 2010. In fact, Chinese exports in the month of July 2011 alone exceeded those from all of 2010. Chinese dumping has played a significant role in causing seven U.S. solar plants to close or downsize during the past 18 months, eliminating thousands of jobs in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.  According to CASM, Chinese producers enjoy no production cost advantage.

The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) is made up of seven companies that manufacture solar cells and modules in the United States and more than 150 employers of more than 11,000 American workers that have registered their support as associated members of CASM. For details about CASM, go to www.americansolarmanufacturing.org.

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