Unanimous ruling latest development in controversial trad dispute

The U.S. International Trade Commission unanimously voted to support the tariffs on Chinese-made solar cells and panels sought by SolarWorld on Wednesday.

The 6 to 0 vote means the ITC found the Chinese products were sold in the U.S. below cost and had caused serious economic harm to domestic manufacturers.

SolarWorld is a German-based company with a manufacturing plant in Hillsboro that employees around 900 worker. It had filed a complaint with the ITC and U.S. Department of Commerce supported by the Coalition for Amrican Solar Manufacturing.

After the ITC ruling, Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc. and leader of the CASM, issued the following statement:

“Today’s unanimous vote by the International Trade Commission confirms what has been apparent in the marketplace for the past two years — Chinese manufacturers, with the enthusiastic support of the Chinese government, have attempted to game the international trading system in order to gain a virtual monopoly on solar cells and modules sales in the U.S. market. We have seen the results of this campaign in the marketplace, with more than a dozen companies either shutting down manufacturing facilities or significantly cutting back production and employment in the United States and a Chinese industry, led by LDK Solar and Suntech, having to increasingly turn to its national and provincial governments for help to survive. With this relief, combined with an aggressive domestic enforcement regime, there is hope that the United States can maintain a viable solar manufacturing base, conduct ongoing research and development and continue to make solar an increasingly viable part of the American renewable energy portfolio. On behalf of the membership of CASM, I want to thank the commissioners and the ITC staff for the hard work on this case.”

The ITC did not apply the tariffs retroactively, however, meaning they will not apply to Chinese products that were imported into the U.S. during the investigation. This drew praise from the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, which opposed the complaints.

"Now that both Commerce and the ITC have ruled, we will continue to encourage dialogue and negotiation between the U.S. and Chinese governments to seek a constructive resolution. Unilateral tariffs and a trade war in today’s interconnected global marketplace are unnecessary and detrimental to effective and efficient business competition. Going forward, we must avoid a repeat of the SolarWorld saga, as the growth of the solar industry here, in Europe, and around the world is too important to be upended by one company’s self-serving crusade," CASE said in a prepared statement.

Contract Publishing

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