U.S. senators call on Obama Administration to settle solar trade war

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
Among the signatories is U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, who chairs a senate subcommittee on international trade.

Warning of damage to the U.S. solar industry, seven U.S. senators have sent a letter to the Obama Administration calling for a negotiated settlement instead of tariffs on imports of Chinese solar photovoltaic (PV) products.

The seven include Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mi) and Committee Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wa). The seven state that leadership from the administration is needed to prepare a long-term settlement.

“We write because the dispute with China over solar goods continues to escalate, and we believe that your leadership is critical to resolving the current situation,” reads the letter. “China continues to demonstrate an unwillingness to settle the dispute until our solar industry presents unified proposals that remove existing trade restrictions.”

“Therefore, in order to align the domestic solar industry, we ask you to bring folks together to develop a negotiated settlement that will lead to growth in all aspects of the solar industry. The full support of the White House is needed to lay the groundwork for a long-term settlement with China.”

An industry divided

A negotiated settlement concluded the EU trade case over  Chinese PV imports. However, some key U.S. solar companies do not appear to want to be brought together for a settlement.

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA, Washington D.C.) has long been pushing for a negotiated settlement. However, SolarWorld Industries Americas Inc. (Hillsboro, Oregon, U.S.), which petitioned for this and the previous trade investigation, has repeatedly stated that it does not feel that anything short of tariffs will remedy what it describes as predatory trade practices by the world's largest PV maker and exporter.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Or) from the U.S. state of Oregon, where SolarWorld Industries is located, is not among the signatories of the letter calling for a negotiated solution, and has shown support for SolarWorld's position in the past. Senator Wyden also chairs the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, where the Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness is one of six subcommittees.

While SolarWorld has the support of a number of U.S. companies, its approach is opposed by large sections of the U.S. industry, including developers, equipment manufacturers and polysilicon makers, all of whom stand to lose in trade wars.



2014-04-14 | Courtesy: Solar Server Staff | solarserver.com © Heindl Server GmbH

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