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SolarWorld officials commend trade vote

Officials at SolarWorld, the largest U.S. crystalline silicon solar producer for nearly 40 years, lauded a vote last month by the U.S. International Trade Commission confirming that U.S. imports of Chinese and Taiwanese solar panels are injuring the domestic manufacturing industry.

The vote heralds “yet another advance in the renewable-energy industry’s return to fair competition,” said Ben Santarris, strategic affairs director for the Hillsboro-based company.

“Step by step, U.S. solar producers are returning to a day when they no longer are forced to compete with the government of China,” said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., based in Oregon. “Our own factories here in Oregon are surrounded by several campuses of Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor producer and a U.S. manufacturing success story. So please do not tell us that U.S. manufacturers who pioneered and built the solar industry cannot compete globally under conditions of fair trade.”

On Dec. 31, SolarWorld brought anti-subsidy and anti-dumping cases against China and an anti-dumping case against Taiwan to close a loophole in previous cases that concluded in 2012.

In late March, the Department of Commerce is expected to make a preliminary determination on anti-subsidy duties.

To bring its trade cases, SolarWorld has had to demonstrate that they were supported by a majority of the U.S. manufacturing industry, Santarris said.

“The company has the support of a coalition, largely comprised of installation firms, of nearly 250 employers of more than 22,000 Americans,” he said. “The Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing stands for robust international trade free of illegal foreign government intervention as well as sustainable and domestic manufacturing.”

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